China tops ex­e­cu­tion list

The Guardian Weekly - - International News - Staff and agen­cies

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.

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