I tried very hard not to watch the TV footage of Saddam Hossain being hanged. I failed. Apparently my sorrounding world is so eager to see and show that killing, I had no way but watching Saddam Hossain in Hangman’s noose. I do not like to watch taking a life. This disliking started with the shocking NY Times first page picture of Col. Nazibullah, the ex Afhgan ruler being hanged in a lamp-post by the Taliban.
And then, just these days, the media forced me to watch the faces of five of the six hanged militants.
Bangla vai’s body was not shown. It was reported that was done at Bangla vai’s request. But I don’t believe that authorities will not let a vital accused like Bangla Vai not photographed and publicized.
An interesting news came out in Ajker Kagoj newspaper on the day after hanging. According to Ajker Kagoj, one of the six hanged militants, Bangla Vai, got decapitated while being hanged.
I do not recall seeing any denial of this story.
Decapitation is not so rare complication of hanging. A similar decapitation of Saddam Hossain’s half brother has just reminded us of this potential gruesome complication.
Before I go ito whether Bangla vai had the same fate or not let me first talk some scientific stuff about hanging
There are 4 main forms of hanging.
• Short or no drop hanging where the prisoner drops just a few inches, and their suspended body weight and physical struggling causes the noose to tighten, normally resulting in death by strangulation or carotid or Vagal reflex.
• Suspension hanging where the executee is lifted into the air using a crane or other mechanism.
• Standard drop hanging where the prisoner drops a predetermined amount, typically 4-6 feet, which may or may not break their neck. This is the method adopted in Bangladesh I believe.
• Finally, measured or long drop hanging as practised in Britain from 1874, now used in USA and other western countries, where the distance the person falls when the trapdoors open is calculated according to the weight, height and physique of the person and is designed to break the neck. This method was adopted in British Colonies and by some other countries who wished to make executions more humane.
From hundreds of years of experience in killing man had developed a Drop tables. The length of rope needed for hanging will depend on the weight of the person being hanged. here is a sample drop table.
So, if the drop (Rope) length is more than the calculated length for the weight, there are chances of decapitation. Bangla Vai (If the Ajker Kagoj report is true), being a heavy set man, apparently did require much shorter drop length. Failure to that adjustment probably caused the decapitation.
Similarly when the malnourished frail young women and men commit suicide in Bangladesh most of them require a longer rope to break the neck bone causing an instant death then they usually use. Their ignorance about the above mentioned table causes them to endure a prolonged ( taking up to 45 minutes) painful death by asphyxiation.
Since history is knows, mankind had to improvide to find ways to eliminate its fellow kinds.
If I cite experts description of hanging it woill be like this–
Hanging is the oldest but most widely used method of execution in the world today. At very least, 315 men and 4 women were hanged in ten countries during 2006, many in public. These being, Bangladesh, Botswana, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan and Singapore. Sadly, many of those hanged in the 21st century have still had to die by strangulation, particularly in Iran. It is estimated that only 137 of the hangings during 2006 used a drop designed to break the prisoner’s neck. Iraq seems to have adopted the American style of hanging and it is unclear exactly what method Jordan uses.
Hanging remains the standard method of execution in many retentionist countries, notably Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, several African countries, including Botswana and Zimbabwe, and some Middle Eastern countries including Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait Lebanon and Syria. It is also the lawful method in most Caribbean states and is an option to lethal injection in two states of America, Washington and Delaware, which have carried out a total of 3 hangings since the re-introduction of the death penalty in the U.S. in 1976. It was used extensively in Iraq under Saddam Hussein and continues to be the lawful method there under the new government which has carried out 54 executions during 2006, including that of Saddam Hussein.
Hanging originated as a method of execution in Persia (now Iran) about 2500 years ago for male criminals only, (women were strangled at the stake for the sake of decency!) It was the method of choice in many countries as it produced a highly visible deterrent without the blood and gore of beheading. In early times, it was considered ideal because it was the simplest method to carry out, did not give the condemned person a particularly cruel death (by the standards of the day), made a good public spectacle as the prisoner was above the level of the viewers and because the equipment was easy to come by – a tree, a piece of rope and a ladder or cart, being available everywhere. Later, simple gallows replaced the tree and later still, trapdoors replaced the ladder or cart as a means of getting the person suspended. Beheading was the other most common form of execution, adopted as the sole means by some countries. Methods such as drowning, bricking up, casting from heights, crucifixion, breaking on the wheel and burning were also used in various countries.
There is no means of knowing how many people have hanged worldwide in the last 2,000 years but it is probably at least half a million. From 1800 and 1964, some 5,508 people suffered death by hanging in Britain. In America alone, it is estimated that some 13,000 men and 505 women were hanged from the early 1600′s up to 1996.
And let me finish this note with the urge again to stop death penalty. We have no right to take away something which we will never be able to give back. Every human has tremendous potential and every single person may repent one day and contribute a lot positively to the society.
We must not mix the word justice and vengeance. And we must not use the word justice to fulfill our lust for vengeance. Forgiveness is definitely a better way than vengeance.