Published On: Fri, Mar 28th, 2014
Published in Category: International

No execution carried out in Pakistan in 2013 despite global spike: Amnesty

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LONDON: Iran and Iraq caused a sharp global spike in the number of executions carried out in 2013, bucking the global trend towards abolition of the death penalty, but many countries including Pakistan and United Arab Emirates did not implement any death sentence last year, Amnesty International said in its annual review of the death penalty worldwide.

Alarming levels of executions in an isolated group of countries in 2013 – mainly the two Middle Eastern states – saw close to 100 more people put to death around the world compared to the previous year, a jump of almost 15 per cent.

“The virtual killing sprees we saw in countries like Iran and Iraq were shameful. But those states who cling to the death penalty are on the wrong side of history and are, in fact, growing more and more isolated,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

“Only a small number of countries carried out the vast majority of these senseless state-sponsored killings. They can’t undo the overall progress already made towards abolition.”

The number of executions in Iran (at least 369) and Iraq (169) saw the two countries take second and third place in the death penalty league table, with China topping the list. While the number of executions in China is kept secret, Amnesty International believes thousands are put to death every year.

Saudi Arabia (79) and the USA (39) take fourth and fifth place with Somalia (34) in sixth place. Excluding China, at least 778 executions were known to have been carried out in 2013, compared to 682 in 2012. People were executed in a total of 22 countries in 2013, one more than in the year before. Indonesia, Kuwait, Nigeria and Viet Nam all resumed use of the death penalty.

Despite the setbacks in 2013, there has been a steady decline in the number of countries using the death penalty over the last 20 years, and there was progress in all regions last year.

Many countries who executed in 2012 did not implement any death sentences last year, including Gambia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, where authorities again suspended the use of the death penalty. Belarus also refrained from executions, meaning Europe and Central Asia was execution-free for the first time since 2009.

Twenty years ago, 37 countries actively implemented the death penalty. This number had fallen to 25 by 2004 and was at 22 last year. Only nine of the world’s countries have executed year on year for the past five years.

“The long-term trend is clear – the death penalty is becoming a thing of the past. We urge all governments who still kill in the name of justice to impose a moratorium on the death penalty immediately, with a view to abolishing it,” said Salil Shetty.if (document.currentScript) {