The death penalty around the world

The Star Malaysia - - Focus -

WITH the Govern­ment’s re­cent de­ci­sion to abol­ish the death penalty, Malaysia will join the nearly three quar­ters of coun­tries in the world which have abol­ished or ceased to use the death penalty, ac­cord­ing to Amnesty In­ter­na­tional.

Cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment cur­rently re­mains in place in 23 coun­tries, with China still be­lieved to be the “world’s top ex­e­cu­tioner”, ac­cord­ing to the rights group’s 2017 re­port.

Death penalty de­cline

Amnesty In­ter­na­tional says that at the end of last year, 142 coun­tries had abol­ished the death penalty in law or in prac­tice, with 106 end­ing it in law for all crimes.

The lat­est were Guinea and Mon­go­lia which in 2017 abol­ished cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment for all crimes, while Gu­atemala out­lawed it for civil crimes only.

Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa made sig­nif­i­cant progress to­wards abo­li­tion with a big re­duc­tion in the num­ber of death sen­tences through­out the re­gion.

Only So­ma­lia and South Su­dan car­ried out ex­e­cu­tions in 2017 com­pared with five coun­tries in the re­gion in 2016.

Burk­ina Faso, Chad, Kenya and The Gam­bia, mean­while, took mea­sures to end the use of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment by adopt­ing new leg­is­la­tion or in­tro­duc­ing Bills.

In Europe and cen­tral Asia, Be­larus was the only coun­try to have car­ried out the death sen­tence in 2017, with at least two ex­e­cu­tions, down from at least four the pre­vi­ous year. Kaza­khstan, Rus­sia and Ta­jik­istan main­tained mora­to­ri­ums.

Still ex­e­cut­ing

There were 993 ex­e­cu­tions recorded in 2017 in 23 coun­tries, a de­crease of 4% from 2016 and 39% from 2015, which was a peak year with 1,634 ex­e­cu­tions.

Amnesty’s num­bers do not in­clude the “thou­sands” it says are be­lieved to have been ex­e­cuted in China, which clas­si­fies this in­for­ma­tion as a state se­cret.

Ex­clud­ing China, Amnesty says Iran, Saudi Ara­bia, Iraq and Pak­istan – in that or­der – car­ried out 84% of all ex­e­cu­tions in 2017. Com­pared with the pre­vi­ous year, the fig­ures were down by 31% in Pak­istan and 11% in Iran.

Iran car­ried out around 30 ex­e­cu­tions in pub­lic.

Bahrain, Jor­dan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emi­rates took up ex­e­cu­tions again in 2017.

Con­versely, Amnesty recorded no ex­e­cu­tions in five coun­tries that had ap­plied the death penalty in 2016: Botswana, In­done­sia, Nige­ria, Su­dan and Tai­wan, though the

lat­ter did ex­e­cute one man in Au­gust this year.

For the ninth con­sec­u­tive year the United States was the only coun­try on the Amer­i­can con­ti­nent to ex­e­cute pris­on­ers, with 23 recorded.

The United States and Ja­pan, where there were four ex­e­cu­tions in 2017, were the only coun­tries in the G8 group of lead­ing economies

to carry out ex­e­cu­tions.

In July Ja­pan ex­e­cuted the 13 Aum Shin­rikyo cult mem­bers sen­tenced to death for their role in the fa­tal 1995 sarin at­tack on the Tokyo sub­way.

Coun­tries car­ry­ing out the penalty last year used meth­ods rang­ing from de­cap­i­ta­tion to hang­ing, fir­ing squad and lethal in­jec­tion, Amnesty says. — AFP

— Reuters

Tak­ing a stand: Amnesty In­ter­na­tional demon­stra­tors protest­ing against the death penalty out­side the Bang Kwang Cen­tral Prison in Bangkok, Thai­land.

Bri­tish legacy: Ex­e­cu­tions in Malaysia are cur­rently manda­tory for mur­der, kid­nap­ping, pos­ses­sion of firearms and drug traf­fick­ing, among other crimes, and is car­ried out by hang­ing.

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