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Executions on the rise: United States among top five countries

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/27/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Increased executions in Middle East account for rise

Executions for criminals for a variety of crimes has risen across the world. While the majority of these executions take place in the Middle East, the United States is among the top five nations that has experienced an uptick in capital punishment.

The report does note that only a small number of countries, about one in 10, carry out executions, and 140 countries are against the death penalty either in law or actions.

The report does note that only a small number of countries, about one in 10, carry out executions, and 140 countries are against the death penalty either in law or actions.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
3/27/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Executions, Middle East, Amnesty International, report


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Amnesty International the number of known executions around the world rose almost 15 percent last year.

The report comes on the heels of comes shortly after a decision by an Egyptian court to sentence to death 529 alleged supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood after a two-session trial. The group has called the action "grotesque."

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Of the 778 judicial executions in 22 countries last year, A.I. was unable to count the thousands of people put to death in China, where such information is a state secret. China's foreign ministry referred a question about its executions last year to the justice ministry.

The uptick in capital punishments last year are due to increased executions in Iran and Iraq, followed by Saudi Arabia. The number of officially acknowledged executions in Iran was at least 369, but the rights group said "credible sources" reported 335 more. The group said Iraq executed at least 169 people. Executions in chaotic Syria and Egypt could not be confirmed.

The human rights group is forthright about its stance on the issue. "We oppose the death penalty in all cases, without exception," Jose Luis Diaz, the group's representative at the United Nations, told journalists. "It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment."

Diaz also criticized this week's sweeping decision in Egypt, which he called "in recent history the largest number of death sentences handed down by a court at a single instance."

The report noted 23,000 people on death row worldwide as of the end of 2013. It also counted at least 1,925 people sentenced to death in 57 countries last year, up from the year before.

The report does note that only a small number of countries, about one in 10, carry out executions, and 140 countries are against the death penalty either in law or actions.

"The overall data demonstrate that the trend is still firmly towards abolition," the report said. "Excluding China, almost 80 percent of all known executions worldwide were recorded in only three countries: Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia." Both Europe and Central Asia had no reported executions, the first time since 2009.

The number of people put to death in the United States, the only country in North or South America to carry out executions in 2013, continued to go down, the report said. It executed 39 people last year, down four from 2012. More than 40 percent were by the state of Texas.

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