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The world's most despotic dictators

Saturday, 22 February 2014 - 3:59pm IST | Agency: dna Shadow Editorial Board

As the protests in nations such as Syria and Ukraine continue, dna looks at some of the political villains in world history.

They represent the brutal and insensitive face of human nature. dna gives you a list of the 10 deadliest rulers who are remembered in history for all the wrong reasons.

1) Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un: Three generations of this family have suppressed the country of North Korea for decades. In 2011, around 200,000 political inmates were found to be prosecuted at the whim of these leaders. The newest ruler, Kim Jong-un, quite literally fed his own uncle to the dogs. Every aspect of a citizen's life is controlled by the government, and there remains no freedom of press, opposition, religion or even equality in education.

2) OmarAl-Bashir: He remains the cause of the Sudanese Civil War and gained power by overthrowing the rightful Prime Minister in a coup. Since then he has been elected 3 times as President of Sudan, leaving international organisations such as the United Nations, no option but to accept him. The International Criminal Court has charged him with violations such as genocide and other crimes against humanity. This warrant was also supported by the NATO, but the Sudanese government continues to reject it.

3) Fidel Castro: He lead a revolution in the 1950s, and shook up the international arena when he established friendly ties with the erstwhile Soviet Union. His policies lead to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and several sanctions and blockades were placed against Cuba, by the United States during his reign. However, despite many progressive reforms, his rule lead to the migration of millions of Cubans to the US. Also, according to the Human Rights Watch, Castro's government repressed nearly every freedom of the citizens and prosecuted several thousand political dissidents.

4) Bashar Al-Assad: His Ba'ath Party is a minority government, which refuses to allow any opposition. The civil war in Syria began in 2011, and the situation has not improved. Thousands of Syrians have fled to nearby countries such as Turkey to escape the oppression in the nation. He is accused of war crimes such as genocide and ordering the use of chemical weapons on his own citizens. He shows no sign of ending the strife, even as the death toll in Syria increases every day.

5) Mao Zedong: He founded the basis of one of the most powerful nations in the world today; the People's Republic of China. Mao Zedong also created an entire set of political theories and communist rules, which are collectively known as 'Maoism'. He is worshiped in the PRC, but due to the disastrous famine seen in his rule, as well as the countless alleged human rights abuses, he is known as a totalitarian ruler. Due to his laws, the people of the PRC face gross civil rights violations even today.

6) Saddam Hussein: The Iraqi President was executed in 2006 for ordering the death of 148 Shi'ite Muslims and various other violations such as genocide and wrongfully imprisoning hundreds of people. He was captured after the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United Sates of America. His rule was branded as one of the 'axis of evil' by the West, and the US President Bush used his crimes as an excuse to invade Iraq, which was legally forbidden by the United Nations.

7) Joseph Stalin: In what was one of the most spectacular abuses of power that the world has seen, Stalin set up major deportations and labour camps to cripple his opposition. He was responsible for setting up close ties with North Korea and the PRC, and played a huge role in the Second World War. The secret police under his rule, KGB, was allegedly as merciless as the Gestapo in Germany; discriminating against and exploiting citizens of foreign ethnicity.

8) Muammar Gaddafi: Gaddafi was the de-facto ruler of Libya, and came to power via a military coup in 1969. He was one of the dictators overthrown during the Arab Spring. Situations in Libya reached an extent where the NATO established a no-fly zone and ordered air-strikes against the nation. Gaddafi was ultimately captured and tortured to death. The scenes were recorded on a cell phone and broadcast on the Internet, signaling the end of the Libyan civil war.

9) Robert Mugabe: This leader from Zimbabwe is famous for his racist attitude towards people from the Western Nations such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom, as well as the white minority in the nation; in addition to his opposition to the LGBT community. According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the government violates the rights to shelter, freedom of movement and residence, assembly and the protection of the law. There are reported assaults on the press, the political opposition, civil society and human rights activists.

10) Adolf Hitler: His name is associated with violence and evil. His actions have been condemned by nations across the globe. His ambition and totalitarian rule, not to mention a particular hatred for the Jewish community, was one of the causes of the Second World War. The Holocaust, which was the genocide and ethnic cleansing which he ordered against the Jews; is regarded as one of the darkest periods in history. Hitler violated peace agreements, ordered mass murders, caused a world war, and was responsible for several other crimes against humanity.

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