Execution by elephant was a common method of capital punishment in Asia, particularly India. Asian Elephants were used to crush, dismember, or torture captives in public executions…

Execution by elephant was a common method of capital punishment in Asia, particularly India. Asian Elephants were used to crush, dismember, or torture captives in public executions. The elephants were under the constant control of a driver, thus enabling a ruler to grant a last-minute reprieve and display merciful qualities. Several such exercises of mercy are recorded in various Asian kingdoms. The kings of Siam trained their elephants to roll the convicted person on the ground slowly so that he or she was not badly hurt. The Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great is said to have “used this technique to chastise ‘rebels’ and then in the end the prisoners, presumably much chastened, were given their lives”. On one occasion, Akbar had a man thrown to the elephants to suffer five days of such treatment before pardoning him.

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