WORLD TREND DOWN BUT SECRECY SURROUNDS CHINA EXECUTION FIGURES
April 14, 2008: Amnesty International called for secrecy surrounding the death penalty to be lifted as it published new figures showing that over 1,250 people were executed in 2007.
Up to 27,500 people are now estimated to be on death row across the world. Execution figures show a drop from 2007 (down from 1,591), but death penalty information is veiled in secrecy in several countries, notably in China. China still executed more than any other country (at least 470), but the real execution figure is likely to be several thousand.
There were large rises in executions in Iran (at least 317 people, up from 177), Saudi Arabia (at least 143, up from 39), and Pakistan (at least 135, up from 82). Just five countries - China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the USA - carried out the overwhelming majority (88%) of known executions in the world.
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said 'yet again China has executed more people than any country in the world and even now, in Olympics year, China is secretly executing people after unfair trials and alleged torture.
According to reliable estimates, on average China secretly executes around 22 prisoners every day - that's 374 people during the Olympic Games.â Amnesty is also concerned that the extremely wide scope of the death penalty in China is becoming even wider.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International's death penalty review welcomed the wider trend toward global abolition. Two-thirds of the world's countries (135) have now either officially abolished capital punishment or have refrained from using it for at least 10 years.
Last year three more countries (Albania, Rwanda and the Cook Islands) abolished the death penalty. (Sources: Amnesty.org.uk, 14/04/2008)