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Capital punishment in Puerto Rico

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Capital punishment in Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States, is abolished. However, a number of people were executed in the territory before abolition.

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  • ✪ 10 Worst Prisons In History
  • ✪ Leopold & Loeb: "The Perfect Murder" | Great Crimes & Trials


10 worst prisons in history 10) La Santé (Guardian, New York Times, Irish Times) Horrific abuse in France’s La Santé led to hundreds of prisoner suicides between 1999 and 2003. Prisoners would kill themselves by swallowing rat poison, rusty forks, or drain cleaner. Prison officials described wading through blood in corridors, and how they witnessed the jail’s criminal kingpins force weaker prisoners into slavery. A 2000 investigation discovered inmates suffering from horrific skin diseases brought on by rotting prison food. Before it was closed for renovation, it was discovered that many of the prisoners had been internally lacerated from being raped by prison guards. Meanwhile, unruly prisoners were put in solitary confinement and tear gassed. 9) Tadmor Military Prison (Middle East Eye, Guardian) In 1980 Syrian military commander Rifaat al-Assad ordered that all 600 inmates in the country’s Tadmor prison be massacred. It took two weeks for the resulting bloody mess to be cleaned. By this time, corpse bacteria had spread, infecting new prisoners with gangrene. Gruesome torture and execution methods included prisoners being axed into cubes, forced to stand in water up to their nostrils, and being dragged to death. By 2011 the prison housed anti-government rebels, but in 2015 ISIS stormed the prison, freed inmates, and blew up the remaining buildings. 8) Carandiru (BBC, Amnesty International) In 1992 Brazil’s Carandiru Prison became the scene of a macabre massacre when police stormed the grounds to put down a prisoner revolt. Over the course of just half an hour, police shot 111 prisoners to death. These included surrendering inmates, who were murdered by guards as they cowered in their cells begging for mercy. In 2002 Carandiru finally closed shortly after prisoners co ordinated simultaneous revolts across 27 compounds. 7) Gldani Prison (Time, BBC) Georgia’s Gldani Prison made the headlines in 2012 when footage emerged of guards mercilessly sodomizing inmates with brooms as they screamed in agony. Others were captured, stretched out, and chained to their cell bars as guards yelled abuse at them. In one incident a lit cigarette was inserted into an inmate’s anus. When it was extracted, the victim was forced to smoke it. When the video surfaced, many were relieved that the catalogue of abuse stretching back years was finally public. It resulted in resignations from top ministers and police. 6) Petak Island (Baltimore Sun, Telegraph, Complex) Petak Island Prison is a sinister island fortress on Russia’s icy White Lake. Prisoners are psychologically tortured through isolation, as they are detained in tiny, unlit cells for over 22 hours a day. The rest of the time they are locked in outdoor cages. Inmates are only allowed two visits a year and amenities such as books and heating are banned. With no bathroom facilities, prisoners share bucket chamber pots. These poor hygiene standards have contributed to the spread of tuberculosis, which afflicts half of the inmates. 5) Ban Kwang Prison (Guardian, Daily Echo) Until 2013 all prisoners in Thailand’s notorious Ban Kwang prison were shackled into leg irons for their first 3 months inside. Disturbingly, those with death sentences were welded in permanently, and often given only two hours notice before facing a firing squad. If prisoners want more than their daily bowl of soup and rice, they must become personal slaves for guards and wealthier prisoners. The plumbing in Ban Kwang is not maintained, so inmates are constantly exposed to toxic sewage fumes and must bathe in diseased stream water. 4) Gitarama Prison (Independent, Complex, Zee News) In 1995 Gitarama Prison was considered the world’s most overcrowded prison. Despite its capacity for only 400 prisoners, it actually held around 7000. Most of these were perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. With no space, inmates were forced to stand day and night, leading over 40% of them to get gangrene on their feet, which rotted off. At least five prisoners died daily due to the disgusting conditions inside. With extreme food shortages, prisoners frequently killed each other and ate the bodies to survive. Within a year of the end of the genocide in 1994, thousands had suffocated to death within its airless walls. 3) El Rodeo (BBC, The Atlantic, Economist) Venezuela’s El Rodeo prison is sharply divided between the weak and the strong. Powerful inmates openly sell drugs and use facilities including a disco, gym, and internet café funded by a former prisoner. Beyond this, gang warfare rages furiously. In 2011 violent prisoners took 1000 others hostage and rioted, leaving at least 20 dead. National Guard troops were unable to restore order for days, as armed inmates threatened to butcher their hostages. The uprising was inspired by a 1994 riot in the country’s Maracaibo jail, in which 130 prisoners were burned alive or killed with machetes. 2) Pitesti Prison (Genocide of the Souls, Columbia University) Pitesti Prison is infamous for having the most severe and comprehensive brainwashing torture program. Under Communist rule, Romanian authorities disciplined political dissidents by forcing them to torture each other, attend Marxist seminars, and renounce their religious beliefs. Inmates faced a daily “baptism”, where their heads were plunged into festering buckets of urine and feces. Other humiliating exercises included writing autobiographies describing themselves in grotesque, inhuman terms, and cleaning the floor using a rag clenched between their teeth. 1) Diyarbakir Prison (Armenian Weekly, Complex, Huriyet Daily) Turkey’s Diyarbakir prison has a shocking history of torture, which includes inmates being beaten on the soles of their feet with a wooden bat before having their spines stamped on. Former inmates recall being hung naked from walls and having electric wires attached to their anuses and genitals, before being administered scarring shocks. Some prisoners are forced to eat rotting rat carcasses and excrement. In one incident a huge truncheon was inserted into a prisoner’s anus, with others forced to suck the implement clean.


From the 16th century until 1898, Puerto Rico was a part of the Spanish Empire. The number of people executed in Puerto Rico by the Spanish authorities is: 289 in the 16th Century, 70 in 17th Century, 44 in the 18th Century and 144 in 19th Century.[1]

In result of the Spanish–American War, Puerto Rico became U.S. territory. 27 people were executed under American administration during the 20th century. The authorized method of execution was hanging, although in 1900, the American military authorities executed at least five convicted murderers using the garrotte method that was a legacy of Spanish rule.[2]

Two men, Arocho y Clemente (Carlos Arocho Guzmán and Jacinto Clemente Echevarría) were sentenced for the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl. At the time, it was one of the worst crimes in the annals of Puerto Rico crime history. The death penalty sentence on Arocho was appealed and made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, only to be upheld.[3] They were both hanged on June 27, 1927.[4][5]

The last person executed in Puerto Rico was Pascual Ramos, hanged for murder in 1927. Two years later, in 1929, the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico abolished the death penalty.[6][7] The Puerto Rico's constitution expressly states that "The death penalty shall not exist."[8]

Despite these provisions, the death penalty can still be applied in Puerto Rico under the federal government jurisdiction, for people tried and convicted in federal court.[9]

See also


  1. ^ "Puerto Rico and the Death Penalty | Death Penalty Information Center". Retrieved 2016-07-22.
  2. ^ S. Doc. 360, 56th Cong., 1st sess., p. 3.
  3. ^ Puerto Rico. Dept. of Justice (1923). Annual report of the Attorney General. p. 10.
  4. ^ "Mueren en la horca Clemente y Arocho". El Editor (in Spanish). April 18, 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  5. ^ Tesauro de datos historicos: indice compendioso de la literatura histórica de Puerto Rico, incluyendo algunos datos inéditos, periodísticos y cartográficos. Impr. del Gobierno de Puerto Rico. 1949. pp. 266–.
  6. ^ "Home- Initiative gegen die Todesstrafe e.V". 2016-07-03. Retrieved 2016-07-22.
  7. ^ "Feingold Statements on the Death Penalty | Death Penalty Information Center". Retrieved 2016-07-22.
  8. ^ "Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico - Wikisource, the free online library". Retrieved 2016-07-22.
  9. ^ "Puerto Rico and the Death Penalty | Death Penalty Information Center". Retrieved 2016-07-22.
This page was last edited on 16 December 2019, at 19:49
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