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Global death penalties at lowest in a decade

DW, 21 Apr 2021
A report by Amnesty International said that death penalties in 2020 declined worldwide. However, some countries continued and even increased the number of executions despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Worldwide, at least 483 executions were carried out in 2020, according to the report — the lowest tally recorded by Amnesty in about 10 years. At the same time, however, the number of executions tripled in Egypt, and India, Oman, Qatar and Taiwan also resumed the form of punishment.

China, North Korea, Syria and Vietnam classify executions as confidential state information, and therefore the exact number of executions in these nations is not known.

China is believed to carry out thousands of executions every year, making it the worst offender, the Amnesty report said. Iran came in second (more than 246), followed by Egypt (more than 107), Iraq (more than 45) and Saudi Arabia (27). Iran, Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia accounted for 88% of all known executions in 2020.

The report said that countries in the Asia Pacific region continued to violate international law and standards, which advise against the use of the death penalty for crimes other than intentional murder.

Some 108 countries have abolished the death penalty altogether, and 144 countries have abolished it in law or practice. Last year, Chad scrapped the death penalty while Kazakhstan and Barbados enacted reforms to abolish the practice.


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