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?


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.

  • 5
    Well first degree murder also carries a life sentence/capital punishment, and yet capital punishment exists... So not so much convinced of the "its use carries a life sentence" argument...
    – Stark07
    Jun 29 '15 at 13:31
  • @Stark07 I feel like you're trying to make a point that I'm not understanding. Could you elaborate please? Jun 29 '15 at 13:44
  • Killing is punishable, by killing the person who killed! Premeditated administering of life threatening drugs to a person would be a murder in the first degree(without the malice), and yet it is a punishment for murder. And the government does use it! So similarly, I don't think that Avada Kedavra would be off-limits for the ministry. Rather it's a painless death compared to the Dementor's kiss.
    – Stark07
    Jun 29 '15 at 13:49
  • 1
    Buckbeak was also sentenced to execution, via large axe.
    – Etheur
    Jun 29 '15 at 21:57
  • 1
    @Stark07 In the UK (unlike the USA and an ever-diminishing list of countries), capital punishment has been long outlawed. I think that's relevant here, and it's not totally an out-of-universe explanation. The Magical world does seem to "keep up" with many of the norms and trends of the Muggle world - e.g. rock music, a Ministry department. Capital punishment for humans and possibly all sentients was likely outlawed - but that didn't stop them trying to use it on Buckbeak the Hippogriff, which was classed as a Beast and not a Being.
    – Deepak
    Jan 30 '16 at 10:58

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.



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.

  • You can use spoiler markup >! before a line if you want to hide spoilers.
    – Adamant
    Nov 22 '16 at 0:41
  • The questions is about death penalties awarded using an unforgivable curse, "Avada Kedavra".. Not using any other method that you have mentioned.
    – captainsac
    Nov 22 '16 at 4:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.