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Research by Amnesty shows that the known global execution rate has decreased, but the political situation within multiple countries is getting worse: What is the global landscape like right now on the death penalty?

  • China remains the world’s top executioner – followed by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Iraq
  • But several countries saw a rise in executions – including Belarus, Japan, Singapore, South Sudan and USA
  • More than 19,000 people still languish on death row worldwide
  • The report comes amid outrage over Brunei’s new stoning for same-sex law, though no execution in Brunei since 1957

Global executions fell dramatically by almost a third (31%) last year to the lowest figure for at least a decade, Amnesty International said in its annual global review of the death penalty.

The findings are contained in a new 54-page Amnesty report, Death Sentences and Executions 2018.

The report shows that there was a 50% drop in executions in Iran (where use of the death penalty is rife) following a change to its anti-drugs laws Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia also saw significant reductions in executions.

As a result, overall in 2018 execution figures fell globally from 993 in 2017, to at least 690 in 2018.

However, these statistics do not include China – the world’s largest executioner where thousands are believed to be put to death every year – because the Chinese authorities refuse to release information on capital punishment and all data is classified as a state secret.

Amnesty’s report – which comes amid a global outcry over Brunei’s introduction of a penal code allowing death-by-stoning for same-sex sexual acts – shows that there were executions in 20 countries during 2018.

The 20 countries were:

  • China (believed to be 1,000s)
  • Iran (253+)
  • Saudi Arabia (149)
  • Vietnam (85+)
  • Iraq (52+)
  • Egypt (43+)
  • USA (25)
  • Japan (15)
  • Pakistan (14+)
  • Singapore (13)
  • Somalia (13)
  • South Sudan (7+)
  • Belarus (4+)
  • Yemen (4+)
  • Afghanistan (3)
  • Botswana (2)
  • Sudan (2)
  • Taiwan (1)
  • Thailand (1)
  • North Korea (an unknown number).

Many countries do not release official information on capital punishment and several countries are thought to have executed many more than the minimum figures compiled here (indicated by a “+” symbol). Read more 

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