China remained the world’s top executioner, putting more people to death in 2016 than all other countries combined, an Amnesty International report revealed on Tuesday. At least 1,032 people were executed in 2016. In 2015, the Amnesty International recorded 1,634 executions in 25 countries worldwide – a historical spike unmatched since 1989. However, the number of executions globally fell 37 per cent in 2016, excluding figures from China, whose data is a state secret. Excluding China, 87 per cent of all executions took place in just four countries – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan, the report said.
For the first time since 2006, the US was not one of the five biggest executioners, falling to seventh behind Egypt. The 20 executions in the US was the lowest in the country since 1991. In 2016, 23 countries, about one in eight of all countries worldwide, are known to have carried out executions, according to the Amnesty report. This number has decreased significantly from 20 years ago (40 countries carried out executions in 1997).
Belarus, Botswana, Nigeria and authorities within the State of Palestine resumed executions in 2016; Chad, India, Jordan, Oman and United Arab Emirates – all countries that executed people in 2015 – did not report any executions last year. Ttwo countries – Benin and Nauru – abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes. In total, 104 countries have done so – a majority of the world’s states.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International recorded 3,117 death sentences in 55 countries in 2016, a significant increase on the total for 2015 (1,998 sentences in 61 countries). At least 18,848 people were on death row at the end of 2016. The following methods of execution were used across the world: beheading, hanging, lethal injection and shooting. Public executions were carried out in Iran (at least 33) and North Korea, the report added.