China tops execution list
China remains the “world’s top executioner” amid a decline in executions worldwide, Amnesty International said in its annual report on capital punishment.
According to the report, released last week, China carried out “more death sentences than the rest of the world combined”. Amnesty believes that thousands of executions and death sentences took place in 2017 in China, where they are considered a state secret.
China aside, executions worldwide dropped again in 2017, with at least 993 recorded in 23 countries – down 4% from 2016 and 39% from 2015.
At least 2,591 death sentences were recorded in 53 countries in 2017 – down from a record high of 3,117 in 2016 – and at least 21,919 people are known to be under a death sentence, Amnesty said. It said the “positive trend” towards ending capital punishment was exemplified by subSaharan Africa, where 20 countries have now abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Just two countries in the region, Somalia and South Sudan, carried out executions last year.
“The progress in sub-Saharan Africa reinforced its position as a beacon of hope for abolition,” the Amnesty International secretary general, Salil Shetty, said.
Excluding China, 84% of the reported executions last year were carried out in just four countries: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan. Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates resumed executions in 2017.