Travelers and Saddam Beware: The Death Penalty Worldwide

Prepare yourself, this one’s going to be a downer.  But the recent execution of Saddam Hussein has reignited controversy over the death penalty worldwide. In Southeast Asia, there’s plenty of traveler’s horror stories about backpackers being put to death for violating Malaysia’s tough anti-drug law. So it seemed worthwhile to me to check into what countries use the death penalty and for what. Here’s Wikipedia’s list. A few of the highlights:

– Algeria hasn’t executed anyone since 1993, but among the offenses punishable by death is counterfeiting, something to keep in mind when someone is giving you a deal that’s just to good to be true…

– In the Central African Republic they can end you for crimes of charlatanism and witchcraft. There’s a few things that are disturbingly open to interpretation. Leave the Halloween costumes in Kenya, I guess.

– In Egypt, “organized drug trafficking” can carry a death sentence. Not a good place to be the local “source” for fellow expats.

– I’ll withhold comment on this one and just let it be known that in Sudan, Mauritania and Nigeria, sodomy and apostasy can earn you an execution. Yikes.

–  Not much forgiveness in China, where just about anything from theft to fraud can get you killed.

– In Thailand, bribery makes the list. Something pretty disturbing since it may be all but unavoidable for travelers in certain situations.