Number of executions fell globally in 2017, finds Amnesty International

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 12 April 2018 in News

Amnesty International recorded a total 993 executions across 23 countries in 2017, a four per cent drop compared to the previous year

Image credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

The overall number of executions to take place around the world fell slightly last year, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

Amnesty International recorded a total 993 executions across 23 countries in 2017, a four per cent drop compared to 2016, in which 1,032 were killed.

But the report, ‘Death Sentences and Executions in 2017’, did not contain figures on executions in China, which are not available.

Amnesty International also recorded a 17 per cent fall in the number of people sentenced to death in 2017, with 2,591 death sentences in 53 countries, down from a record-high of 3,117 recorded in 2016.

Overall, 23 countries maintained the death penalty in 2017, the same number as in 2016, though the report warned that Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and the UAE all resumed executions after a gap.

Excluding China, 84 per cent of executions in 2017 were carried out in just four countries: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.

In Egypt, recorded death sentences increased by around 70 per cent compared to 2016.

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

Naomi McAuliffe, Amnesty International’s Scotland Programme Director, said: “We have seen positive progress in our global campaign to end the death penalty in every country but we still have a lot of work to do.

“There are a number of leaders who cling to the death penalty as a ‘quick-fix’ for social ills. President Duterte continues to call for the reintroduction of the death penalty in the Philippines for drug-related offences despite it being a violation of the country’s obligations under international law.

“Using the death penalty to tackle drug use in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific is both ethically wrong and has not proven to be a deterrent.

“We remain committed to our worldwide campaign to end the ultimate cruel and unusual punishment. The tide of history may be turning in our favour but we will fight for every step on the way towards complete abolition.”

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