27 Mar 2012

Amnesty alarmed by execution surge

Executions around the world soared last year with countries like Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia resorting to the death penalty more often, Amnesty International has said in a new report.

The rights group said on Tuesday that at least 676 people were executed in 20 countries in 2011 compared with 527 executions in 23 countries in 2010, a 78 per cent increase. Executions in the Middle East rose by almost 50 per cent last year to 558, the group said. Methods of execution used around the world included beheading, hanging, lethal injection and shooting.


However, Amnesty said China executed more people than the rest of the world put together. Data on the death penalty in China is a state secret and Amnesty International no longer publishes a figure for Chinese executions, but it said they were in the thousands.

Salil Shetty, Amnesty's secretary-general, said that when Amnesty was launched in 1961 only nine countries had abolished the death penalty for all crimes, whereas last year only 20 countries carried out executions.

Al Jazeera English