Friday, September 10, 2004


The Death Penalty worldwide

Amnesty International's most up to date information shows that:

"80 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes
15 countries have abolished the death penalty for all but exceptional crimes such as wartime crimes
23 countries can be considered abolitionist in practice: they retain the death penalty in law but have not carried out any executions for the past 10 years or more and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions

making a total of 118 countries which have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

78 other countries and territories retain and use the death penalty, but the number of countries which actually execute prisoners in any one year is much smaller.

During 2003, at least 1,146 prisoners were executed in 28 countries and at least 2,756 people were sentenced to death in 63 countries. These figures include only cases known to Amnesty International; the true figures are certainly higher.

In 2003, 84 per cent of all known executions took place in China, Iran, the USA and Viet Nam. In China, limited and incomplete records available to Amnesty International at the end of the year indicated that at least 726 people were executed, but the true figure was believed to be much higher: a senior Chinese legislator suggested in March 2004 that China executes "nearly 10,000" people each year. At least 108 executions were carried out in Iran. Sixty-five people were executed in the USA. At least 64 people were executed in Viet Nam.

Eight countries since 1990 are known to have executed prisoners who were under 18 years old at the time of the crime - China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the USA and Yemen. China, Pakistan and Yemen have raised the minimum age to 18in law, and Iran is reportedly in the process of doing so. The USA has executed more child offenders than any other country (19 since 1990).

Amnesty International recorded three executions of child offenders in 2003, two in China and one in the USA. Three executions have been recorded in Iran in 2004."

Amnesty International

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