Death penalty executions at a 25 year high, Amnesty reports

Death penalty executions at a 25 year high, Amnesty reports
By Joanna Gill with Amnesty International, Reuters, AFP
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Three countries are responsible for 90% of executions, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.


The number of people executed around the world has reached a sobering new record. New figures released by Amnesty International show a 50 per cent rise in executions in 2015.

More than 1634 people were condemned to death in 25 countries worldwide, that’s 573 more than in 2014. The human rights watchdog said it marked an alarming development, and the real figures could be even higher, as the numbers for China are unknown.

“The dramatic rise in executions that we recorded in 2015 was down to huge increases, primarily huge increases, in just three countries – Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Together these three countries accounted for almost 90 percent of all the executions that we recorded in 2015, again, excluding China,” explained Audrey Gaughran, Director for Global Issues and Research, from Amnesty International.

The report notes that China regards death penalty figures as a state secret. When asked about the report a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry claimed that Amnesty released ‘unfair’ statements about the country.

Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan were responsible for 89% of the executions in 2015. The Saudi kingdom was responsible for more than 158 executions and Iran for 977, which represents an increase of 76% and 31% respectively from 2014. In Pakistan, there were 326 recorded deaths, the most executions in the country’s history.

According to Amnesty’s report, Iran and Pakistan executed minors at the time of their deaths. In the Middle East and Africa, the majority of the people are condemned because of terrorist actions.

The organisation has been campaigning to end the death penalty since 1977 when only 16 countries had abolished it. They noted that 102 countries abolished the act entirely by the end of 2015, making a total of 140 abolitionist countries around the world.

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