China Still 'World's Top Executioner' As Global Death Penalty Rates Fall

13 April, 2018, 07:25 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Abolish death penalty, Amnesty International urges Kenya

Global rights group Amnesty says no fewer than 600 people were put to death and a total of 2,285 people now on death row in Nigeria prisons as at 2017. Amnesty International recorded several cases of people facing the death penalty after "confessing" to crimes as a result of torture or other ill-treatment in Bahrain, China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. There were 993 recorded executions across 23 countries, a figure that is 4 percent lower than 2016 and 36 percent lower from 2015.

More than half of recorded executions - 507 - were carried out in Iran, followed by Saudi Arabia, with 146, Iraq, with 125, and Pakistan, with 60 confirmed executions.

Speaking at the launch of the 2017 Global Death Penalty Report in Accra, Country Director of Amnesty International, Robert Amoafo Akoto revealed that seven people were sentenced to death in only 2017 but Ghana's prisons are now holding a total of 160 persons on death row, including six foreigners.

Amnesty International has described death penalty as discriminatory, saying the country imposed the highest number of death sentences in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Gambia has also signed an worldwide treaty committing the country not to carry out executions and moving to abolish the death penalty.

The number of executions and death sentences in the USA slightly increased compared to 2016, but remained within historically low trends recorded in recent years. For the ninth year in a row, the United States was the only country in the Americas to continue using the death penalty.

"It is per se contrary to the Gospel", he continued, "because it entails the willful suppression of a human life that never ceases to be sacred in the eyes of its Creator".

Ms Kulak said a further 36 countries have abolished the death penalty in "law or practice" meaning while they have not officially scrapped the penalty, they are not performing any executions.

"Sure there needs to be justice, but it's been tested that the death penalty doesn't work, and conserving it we only perpetuate violence and the violation of human rights", Sangiorgio told EFE. In 2017, Guinea became 20th African country to eliminate capital punishment from its legislation, while Kenya, Burkina Faso and Chad have taken legislative steps in this direction.

Both Iran and Pakistan saw a decline in the number of executions compared to the previous year - some 10 percent in Iran and more than 30 percent in Pakistan.

"AI believes that the number is higher than what was reported".

Other countries are taking initiatives to do away with the death penalty, it noted.

The report said a record-high number of people - at least 7,000 - remained on death row in Pakistan, nearly 5,000 in Punjab Province alone.

Amnesty proposes that death sentences be commuted to life imprisonment.

This was despite an overall decrease of 1 percent in executions across the region against figures from 2016, the report said.

Citing the report, Amnesty International Malaysia interim executive director Gwen Lee said Malaysia was among 11 countries in the world that carried out executions every year in the past five years. By the end of the year, 123 people had their death sentences finalized by the courts.

"My family will take a sigh of relief after the criminal is hanged", he said.

"Despite strides towards abolishing this abhorrent punishment, there are still a few leaders who would resort to the death penalty as a "quick-fix" rather than tackling problems at their roots with humane, effective and evidence-based policies".

According to the report, released on Thursday, China implemented "more death sentences than the rest of the world combined". Of the 35 Member states of the Organization of American States, only the USA carried out executions.

But Amnesty International says these figures may not be accurate.


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