10 April 2019 :Global executions fell dramatically by almost a third (31%) last year to the lowest figure for at least a decade, Amnesty International said in its annual global review of the death penalty.
The findings - contained in a new 54-page Amnesty report, Death Sentences and Executions 2018 - also show that there was a 50% drop in executions in Iran (where use of the death penalty is rife) following a change to its anti-drugs laws. Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia also saw significant reductions in executions.
As a result, overall in 2018 execution figures fell globally from 993 (the known minimum figure) in 2017, to at least 690 (again, the known minimum figure) in 2018.
However, these statistics do not include China - the world’s largest executioner where thousands are believed to be put to death every year - because the Chinese authorities refuse to release information on capital punishment and all data is classified as a state secret.
Amnesty’s report - which comes amid a global outcry over Brunei’s introduction of a penal code allowing death-by-stoning for same-sex sexual acts - shows that there were executions in 20 countries during 2018:
China (believed to be 1,000s), Iran (253+), Saudi Arabia (149), Vietnam (85+), Iraq (52+), Egypt (43+), USA (25), Japan (15), Pakistan (14+), Singapore (13), Somalia (13), South Sudan (7+), Belarus (4+), Yemen (4+), Afghanistan (3), Botswana (2), Sudan (2), Taiwan (1), Thailand (1), North Korea (an unknown number). Many countries do not release official information on capital punishment and several countries are thought to have executed many more than the minimum figures compiled here (indicated by a “+” symbol).