Illustrated Description Of Russia

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Punishment of the Knout

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Punishment of the Knout.

Punishment of the Knout.
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The second and still severer punishment is that of the knout; but before this punishment can be inflicted, it must be proved that such a crime has been committed as would entail, in every civilized country, the penalty of death. For the knout is the substitute for capital punishment. It can not be inflicted without the emperor's own signature. As for the rest, though the sentence proceeds from the judge, its effect depends entirely upon the executioner who wields the knout.

The criminal, surrounded by a guard of Cossacks, is conducted, half naked, to the place chosen for this kind of execution; all that he has on is simply a pair of linen drawers round his extremities ; his hands are bound together by cords, with the palms laid flat against one another. He is stretched prostrate upon his belly, on a frame inclined diagonally, and at the extremities of which are fixed iron rings; his hands are fastened to one end of the frame, and his feet to the other; he is then extended in such a manner that he can not make a single movement.

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Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855