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Sierra Leone News: Dramatic fall in global executions – Amnesty Int report

Global executions fell by 31%, reaching lowest figure in at least a decade. China remained world’s top executioner, followed by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Viet Nam and Iraq. Amnesty International recorded at least 690 executions in 20 countries in 2018, a decrease of 31% compared to 2017 (at least 993). This figure represents the lowest number of executions that Amnesty International has recorded in the past decade. At the end of 2018, 106 countries had abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes and 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice. Global executions fell by almost one-third last year to the lowest figure in at least a decade, Amnesty International said in its 2018 global review of the death penalty published today, 10 April 2019. The statistics assess known executions worldwide except in China, where figures thought to be in thousands remain classified as a state secret. Execution figures fell globally from at least 993 in 2017, to at least 690 in 2018. “The dramatic global fall in executions proves that even the most unlikely countries are starting to change their ways and realize the death penalty is not the answer,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. “Despite regressive steps from some, the number of executions carried out by several of the worst perpetrators has fallen significantly. This is a hopeful indication that it’s only a matter of time before this cruel punishment is consigned to history, where it belongs.” Amnesty International found increases in executions in Belarus, Japan, Singapore, South Sudan and the USA. Thailand carried out its first execution since 2009, while Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena declared he would resume executions after more than 40 years, posting an advert seeking executioners in February 2019. China remained the world’s top executioner – but the true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown as this data is classified as a state secret. Amnesty International believes thousands of people are sentenced to death and executed each year. In an unprecedented move, death penalty figures were made publicly available by authorities in Viet Nam, who reported that at least 85 executions took place in 2018. This tally confirms its place within the world’s top five executing countries: China (1000s), Iran (at least 253), Saudi Arabia (149), Viet Nam (at least 85) and Iraq (at least 52). Amnesty International was also concerned about a sharp spike in the number of death sentences that were imposed in some countries over the course of the year. Overall, 2018s figures show that the death penalty is firmly in decline, and that effective steps are being taken across the world to end the use of this cruel and inhuman punishment. For example, Burkina Faso adopted a new penal code that effectively abolished the death penalty in June. In February and July respectively, Gambia and Malaysia both declared an official moratorium on executions. In the US, the death penalty statute in the state of Washington was declared unconstitutional in October. During the United Nations General Assembly in December, 121 countries – an unprecedented number – voted to support a global moratorium on the death penalty. Only 35 states voted against it. “Slowly but steadily, global consensus is building towards ending the use of the death penalty. Amnesty has been campaigning to stop executions around the world for more than 40 years – but with more than 19,000 people still languishing on death row worldwide, the struggle is far from over,” said Kumi Naidoo. Amnesty International recorded at least 2,531 death sentences in 54 countries, a slight decrease from the total of 2,591 reported in 2017. At least 19,336 people were known to be under sentence of death globally at the end of 2018.

10/4/19

Thursday April 11, 2019.

 

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