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The execution of Oliver Cromwell, Henry Ireton and John Bradshaw in 1661, from a contemporary engraving.

Oliver Cromwell, the 1st ruler of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, was born in Huntington, Cambridge on April 25, 1599. He died on September 3, 1658, from sepsis following a urinary infection. And he was executed on January 30, 1661—more than two years after his natural death. This makes Oliver Cromwell one of very few people who has been executed posthumously.

Throughout history there are several cases from different parts of the world, where the dead has been ritually “killed” a second time. Discounting mob justice, like what happened to Rasputin and the Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, which were outright vandalism and disrespect for the dead, there are also examples where bodies have been exhumed, trails held and the dead executed whenever the authorities have felt that the guilty had escaped justice in their lifetime.

Let’s look at some of the most dramatic examples of posthumous executions.

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