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Death penalty stats show increase in executions but drop in death sentences

The Amnesty International figures have revealed that while the number of people executed last year rose by two, there were 201 less death sentences handed down.

21 COUNTRIES CARRIED out executions last year, the same as in 2011, latest figures from Amnesty International have shown.

While the number of executions carried out by these countries were up by two on the previous year – 682 compared with 680 – the number of new death sentences dropped from 1,923 sentences in 63 countries to 1,722 sentences in 58 countries.

Programmes director of Amnesty International Ireland, Noeleen Hartigan, said that while the setbacks in 2012 had been disappointing, they did not reverse “a long global trend towards the abolition of the death penalty.”

“Only a tiny number of states still carry out executions and they are increasingly isolated,” she said.

The exact number of executions carried out in China remain a mystery, as numbers are not published. Amnesty International believe they are carried out in their thousands, however.

The top five executing countries in the world, as determined by the human rights organisation, were China, Iran (at least 314), Iraq (at least 129), Saudi Arabia (at least 79) and the USA (43).

(Infographic – Amnesty International)

Setbacks

Last year saw the resumption of executions in India, Japan and Pakistan for the first time in years, while the number of executions in Iraq more than doubled.

One of the biggest setbacks came when Gambia executed nine people, the first time that the country had carried out an execution in almost three decades.

Progress

While the US executed the same number of people in 2012 as in 2011 (43), these were carried out by fewer states, down from 13 to nine. In addition to this, Connecticut became the 17th state to abolish the death penalty.

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In Europe, Latvia became the 97th country in the world to abolish the death penalty for all crimes, after removing the last capital crimes from its legislation last year.

Click here for a larger image.

(Infographic – Amnesty International)

(Amnesty International/YouTube)

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Paul Hyland

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