8 Infamous Magnicides in History

1Mahatma Gandhi (India)

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869 – 1948) was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement. He pioneered satyagraha. This is defined as resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, a philosophy firmly founded upon ahimsa, or total non-violence. This concept helped India to gain independence, and inspired movements of civil rights and freedom across the world. Gandhi is often referred to as Mahatma Gandhi (or "Great Soul"). He is officially honoured in India as the Father of the Nation. Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu Nationalist. Since 1934, there had been five unsuccessful attempts to kill Gandhi.

Godse killed Gandhi on January 30, 1948, approaching him during the evening prayer, greeting him respectfully by bowing, and when one girl accompanying Gandhi said "Brother, Bapu is already late..." and tried to lay him off, he pushed her aside and shot him more than once at point-blank range with a .38 Beretta semi-automatic pistol. After shooting, he did not try to run away nor did he threaten anyone else, although the gun was still with him.

All of those involved in the crime were arrested and tried in a trial that attracted plenty of media attention. Those convicted were either executed or served their complete sentences.

2John F. Kennedy (USA)

John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy (1917 –1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. Kennedy was fatally shot while riding with his wife Jacqueline in a Presidential motorcade in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. . Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the crime but was shot and killed two days later by Jack Ruby before any trial. Polls conducted from 1966 to 2004 concluded approximately 80% of the American public have held beliefs about the responsible for the crime. The assassination is still the subject of widespread debate and has spawned numerous conspiracy theories and alternative scenarios.

Minutes before the shooting started, Nellie Connally, then the First Lady of Texas, turned around to Kennedy, who was sitting behind her, and commented, "Mr. President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you," which President Kennedy acknowledged.

3Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan)

Benazir Bhutto (1953 – 2007) was a Pakistani politician who chaired the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), a centre-left political party in Pakistan. Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, having twice been Prime Minister of Pakistan . She was Pakistan's first and to date only female prime minister. She was the eldest child of former Pakistani prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Nusrat Bhutto, and was the wife of current Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

On 27 December 2007, Bhutto was killed while leaving a campaign rally for the PPP at Liaquat National Bagh, where she had given a spirited address to party supporters in the run-up to the January 2008 parliamentary elections. After entering her bulletproof vehicle, Bhutto stood up through its sunroof to wave to the crowds. At this point, a gunman fired shots at her and subsequently explosives were detonated near the vehicle.

At least 20 other people died in the attack and several more were injured. It was the second suicide attack against her and came amid a wave of bombings targeting security and government officials. Al-Qaeda commander Mustafa Abu al-Yazid claimed responsibility for the attack, describing Bhutto as "the most precious American asset. The year following her death she was named one of seven winners of the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights

4King Birendra of Nepal – and 9 other royal members (Nepal)

Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev (1945 – 2001) is the most internationally well-known Nepalese king in modern history. The son of King Mahendra, whom he succeeded in 1972, he reigned until his death in the 2001 Nepalese royal massacre.

The massacre occurred on Friday, June 1, 2001, at a house in the grounds of the Narayanhity Royal Palace, then the residence of the Nepalese monarchy, when the heir to the throne, Prince Dipendra killed nine members of his family and himself. The dead included King Birendra of Nepal and Queen Aishwarya.

According to reports, Dipendra had been drinking heavily and had "misbehaved" with a guest, which resulted in his father, King Birendra, telling his son to leave the party. The drunken Dipendra was taken to his room by his brother Prince Nirajan and cousin Prince Paras. One hour later, Dipendra returned to the party armed with an MP5K and an M16 and fired a single shot into the ceiling before turning the gun on his father, King Birendra. Seconds later, Dipendra shot one of his aunts and his uncle Dhirendra. Dipendra's mother Aishwarya and his brother Nirajan confronted him in the garden of the palace, where they were both shot dead. Dipendra then proceeded to a small bridge over a stream running through the palace, where he shot himself. He didn't die immediately; he became de jure King of Nepal upon his father's death and died whilst in a coma three days after the act. Gyanendra then became king.

There were several theories after the assassination, blaming Gyanendra and foreign governments like India and the US.

5Archduke Ferdinand and wife Sophie Chotek (Austria)

Whatever else he may have done in life, Archduke Franz Ferdinand (1863–1914) is known now as the man whose assassination touched off World War I. The nephew of the Hapsburg emperor Franz Josef, Ferdinand was first in line to the Austro-Hungarian throne when he visited Sarajevo in June of 1914. He and his wife Sophie were shot to death as they rode through the city in a motorcade on June 28. The assassin was Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Serbian nationalist group known as the Black Hand. The shooting led to war between Austria and Serbia, which escalated into World War I.

Te couple had previously been attacked when a grenade was thrown at their car. Ferdinand deflected the grenade and it detonated far behind them. He is known to have shouted in anger to local officials: "So you welcome your guests with bombs."

The royal couple insisted on seeing all those injured at the hospital. After travelling there, Franz and Sophie decided to go to the palace, but their driver took a wrong turn onto a side street, where Princip spotted them. As the car was backing up, Princip approached and shot Sophie in the abdomen and Franz Ferdinand in the jugular. He was still alive when witnesses arrived to render aid. His dying words to Sophie were, 'Don't die darling, live for our children. 'Princip had used the Browning .32 ACP cartridge, a relatively low-power round, and a pocket-sized FN model 1910 pistol. The archduke's aides attempted to undo his coat but realized they needed scissors to cut it open. It was too late; he died within minutes. Sophie also died en route to the hospital.

6Martin Luther King (USA)

American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., ( 1929-1968), is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using non-violent methods following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. King is often presented as a heroic leader in the history of modern American liberalism.

At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, a shot rang out as King stood on the motel's second floor balcony. The bullet entered through his right cheek, smashing his jaw, then traveled down his spinal cord before lodging in his shoulder. Abernathy heard the shot from inside the motel room and ran to the balcony to find King on the floor.

7Laurent-Désiré Kabila (Congo)

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1997, Laurent-Désiré Kabila (1939 – 2001) was assassinated by his bodyguards, Rashidi Kasereka, on January 18, 2001. He was killed while sitting in his white leather armchair in his Marble Palace office. The gunman was shot dead on the spot.

His assassination was part of a failed coup attempt. Kabila may have been alive when he was flown to Zimbabwe after his assassination; the Congolese government confirmed that he had died on January 18. One week later, his body was returned to Congo for a state funeral and his supposedly adopted son, Joseph, became president eight days later. The investigation into Kabila's assassination led to 135 people being tried before a special military tribunal. The alleged ringleader, Colonel Eddy Kapend (one of Kabila's cousins), and 25 others were sentenced to death in January 2003. Of the other defendants 64 were jailed, with sentences from six months to life.

8Sadi Carnot (France)

Marie François Sadi Carnot (1837 – 1894) was a French statesman, the fourth president of the Third French Republic. He served as the President of France from 1887 until his assassination in 1894.

Carnot was reaching the zenith of popularity, when, on June 24, 1894, after delivering at a public banquet at Lyon a speech in which he appeared to imply that he nevertheless would not seek re-election, he was stabbed by an Italian anarchist named Sante Geronimo Caserio and died shortly after midnight on 25 June. Caserio stabbed the President to avenge Auguste Vaillant and Emile Henry. The Board of Pardons decided against all appeals for clemency on August 14. Caserio was executed by guillotine in Lyon. In front of the guillotine, he exclaimed "Coraggio cugini—evviva l' anarchia!" ("Courage, cousins—long live anarchy!)