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Which countries executed the most people last year, and why? 

Global executions saw a small drop last year, but large numbers of those given the death penalty were convicted for non-violent crimes, according to a new report by Amnesty International.  

In 2017, 23 countries carried out 993 executions around the world – not including the thousands of death sentences and executions believed to have been imposed and implemented in China, where figures remain a state secret.

We take a look at all the latest figures on executions around the world to see which country is carrying out the most, and what are the changing circumstances around the deaths. 

Which countries executed the most people?

Many countries, including China do not release figures on capital punishment, so while Iran tops the official list – it is believed the Chinese figure is in the thousands.    In Iran at least 507 people were executed – 501 men and six women.

At least five of these were aged under 18 at the time of the alleged crime, and are therefore classed as juvenile offenders.   Of the executions, 31 in Iran were carried out publicly. 13 were for convictions of “enmity against god”.     

Chinese President Xi Jinping – the number of death penalties imposed in China is kept secret, but the country is believed to top the list with thousands executed in 2017

Credit:
Mark Schiefelbein/AP

In Iran, basic fair trial guarantees were absent in death penalty cases and the courts often relied on “confessions” extracted under torture to impose death sentences.  

Saudi Arabia recorded the second-highest number, executing 146 over the year, while Iraq followed closely with at least 125.  

The figures compiled by the charity represent a minimum number of recorded executions, with numbers in many countries thought to in fact be much higher.   

Behind Pakistan (60), Egypt (35) and Somalia (24), the USA ranks fifth in the report with 23 executions.   

What were the main reasons for execution?

In defiance of international law, large numbers of  death sentences in 2017 were carried out of non-violent crimes.

    Executions for drug offences were carried out in five countries – China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, with another 10 countries issuing new death sentences for such crimes.   

In Iran, 40% of the more than 500 executions were for drugs offences, while similarly 40% of Saudi Arabia’s nearly 150 executions were for drugs offences.    Singapore hanged eight people in 2017, all for drug-related offences.  

Donald Trump has recently called for ‘big drug pushers’ to face death penalty

Credit:
Evan Vucci/AP

How do the numbers compare to last year?

Overall, the number of executions carried out in 2017 was down by 4% compared to the previous year which saw 1032.  

The number of executing countries remained the same at 23, though Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and the UAE all resumed executions after a gap.   

In Egypt, recorded death sentences increased by around 70% compared to 2016.   In a positive development, Mongolia abolished the death penalty taking the number of countries to have fully abolished capital punishment to 106.   

In particular, large strides in the global fight to abolish the death penalty were made in Sub-Saharan Africa where there was a significant decrease in death sentences imposed across the region.  

The number of countries to have now abolished the death penalty stands at 142.    

How many people are awaiting future death penalties?

Overall, at least 21,919 people are known to be under sentence of death globally.  

After a record-high in 2016, last year saw a fall in the number of people sentenced to death.   

2017 saw 2,591 death sentences passed in 53 countries, down from the 3,117 recorded the previous year.      

Are the executions legal?  

While executions remain legal in some places, many of the Governments in this report breached international prohibitions relating to capital punishment.    

International law dictates that the death penalty should only be used in regards to the most serious of crimes, but a growing trend this year saw higher numbers executed for non-violent, drug offences.  

In Iran, at least five people were also executed for crimes committed when they were under 18, and at least 80 others are on death row.   

In another worrying breach, people with mental or intellectual disabilities were executed or are under sentence of death in Japan, the Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore and the USA.   

Amnesty also recorded several cases of people facing the death penalty after “confessing” to crimes under torture or other ill-treatment in Bahrain, China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. In Iran and Iraq, some of these “confessions” were broadcast live on television.

Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/12/countries-executed-people-last-year/

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