Is there any possible occurrence or canonical reference that the wizarding world has an option of the death penalty by Avada Kedavra?
Has anyone been sentenced to death in Azkaban by the Ministry of Magic by using Avada Kedavra?
Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
I'm not aware of any canon references to this happening or being an option, though I still haven't signed up for Pottermore. All of the executions mentioned in the book are by the Dementor's Kiss. Executions in general seem to be extremely rare, too. The two examples I remember from the books - Sirius (prior to Harry saving him) and Barty Crouch Jr. - were those who had escaped from Azkaban. They were initially sentenced to life in prison rather than outright execution.
It's technically possible that Avada Kedavra could be used to execute a prisoner, but it seems highly unlikely (even though it would probably be more humane). For a start it's one of the Unforgivable Curses - its use carries a life sentence - so I honestly can't see the Ministry using it as a form of execution. It also seems unlikely that the Dementors would be happy about an alternative form of execution, since it reduces the number they'd get to perform and that seems to be one of the perks of their job.
Lupin refers to the Dementor's Kiss as, "Much worse than that," when Harry asks if they kill people in Prisoner of Azkaban.
I would say that the Dementor's Kiss is the punishment considered to be worse than death (I don't think Lupin is the only character to give this opinion) and that life in Azkaban is the fate not quite so bad or equally as unpleasant as death.
Therefore, I would suggest that there is no need for execution as they can decide that criminals deserve life in a hellish prison where they suffer every day or a fate worse than death in the Kiss. There is no need for a different measure that I can see.
WARNING!! TOTAL SPOILER ALERT FOR FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM!!
I think that they do have a death penalty, because in Fantastic Beasts and where to find them, Newt and Tina are sentenced to death and forced to go into this tar pit thing and they persuade them to get in using Tina's memories from the past. The executioner actually said "Mmmm. Doesn't that look good. You wanna get in?". Tina nodded because she was so entranced and almost DIED! So I think that they do have a death penalty, which to no surprise would please Uncle Vernon.