China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, and the USA what do these countries have in common? All of them have the death penalty as a legal form of punishment for crimes.
These countries are responsible for over 90% of known executions carried across the world every year. The debate still rages on whether it's even an active deterrent to crime, with research saying otherwise.
However, an argument can be made for the fact that the death penalty isn't the worst punishment out there.
To this day, various countries still practice some barbaric forms of punishment for various types of crime. Some are so gruesome that we have no doubt they'd prefer a death penalty to the sentence they've been handed out.
Don't believe us? Take a look at this list of the 10 most brutal punishment techniques from around the world that are still in practice today and decide for yourself.
Caning is a form of corporal punishment that consists of a number of hits or strokes with a single cane that's made of rattan, a species of old world climbing palms, and is applied to the offender's bare or clothed buttocks.
Once a feature of British colonial judicial systems, it's still used in various countries in southeast Asia as well as Africa.
One of the countries most guilty of using the practice is Singapore. In 2012, the country carried out 2,203 caning sentences, many of which were handed out to either illegal immigrants or vandals.
Malaysia even has a separate system of religious courts for Muslims only, which can order a much milder form of caning for women offenders. African countries that still using judicial caning include Botswana, Tanzania, and Nigeria.
Flagellation or flogging is the act of beating the human body (mostly the unclothed back of a person) with implements such as whips, lashes, rods etc. and is typically used as a punishment; though it can also be submitted to willingly, or performed on oneself, in religious contexts.
Widely condemned by organizations such as the United Nations and Amnesty International for being excessively cruel, it has been outlawed in many countries. However, countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran continue to administer it as a form of punishment, with the flogging mainly done in public and the victim possibly even a child.
The most prominent case was that of Saudi man named Raif Badawi, who in 2014, was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for insulting Islam.
While this one may seem out of place in a list which contains gruesome punishment methods, solitary confinement is arguably the most disturbing punishment of them all.
The inmate is isolated from any human contact for 22-24 hours a day, with the sentences ranging from days to decades. Used in cases where the prisoner has violated prison regulations or may present a risk of suicide, it has received severe criticism from various human rights organizations for having detrimental psychological effects and effectively constituting torture.
The United States is arguably the most guilty of doling out the punishment, with a reported 80,000 prisoners currently in solitary confinement.
One report by the Human Rights Watch describes the experience of solitary confinement as “the absence of normal social interaction, of reasonable mental stimulus, of exposure to the natural world, of almost everything that makes life human and bearable... [it] is emotionally, physically, and psychologically destructive.”
Dismemberment is the act of cutting, tearing, pulling or otherwise removing the limbs of the victim - mainly their arm, leg, hand, or foot. In some cases, it's carried out humanely, with the victim amputated in a medical environment by doctors while they are still unconscious. In other cases, it's carried out through much cruder methods, with hands and feet being cut off without any anesthetic at all.