Published: Fri, April 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Global executions on the decline, says Amnesty International

Global executions on the decline, says Amnesty International

In addition to Guinea, Mongolia also abolished death penalty in 2017 and Guatemala did same but in a manner restricted to common crimes.

Looking forward, President Trump's recent comments pushing for the death penalty as a means to address the opioid crisis remain a cause of serious concern in 2018.

Iran has the highest known figure despite an 11% drop on 2016, executing at least 507 people, with at least 31 death sentences carried out in public. "It is high time that the rest of the world follows their lead and consigns this abhorrent punishment to the history books", said Amnesty's Secretary General Salil Shetty.

"Amnesty believes that the number is higher than what has been reported". The country did not execute anyone for a non-drug related crime in 2017.

"The fact that countries continue to resort to the death penalty for drug-related offences remains troubling".

However, distressing trends continued to feature in the use of the death penalty in 2017.

The report also found that Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan are responsible for carrying out 85 per cent of all reported executions worldwide.

Last year, a joint report by Nigeria's National Bureau of Statistics and the U.N. Office for Drugs and Crime revealed that the Nigerian police force and other agents of the legal systems - including judges, magistrates and prosecutors - are the most corrupt public officials in the country, often extorting bribes for cases.

The organization further noted that Singapore hanged eight people in 2017, all for drug-related offenses.

"When we look back 40 years ago when Amnesty International first started campaigning against the death penalty, there were only 16 countries that had abolished it".

"The draconian anti-drug measures widely used in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific have totally failed to address the issue". Twenty-three people were executed in the country over the year, an increase from 2016 but historically low for the United States.

The petition reads: "As Nigerians, we are increasingly anxious, particularly on the recent report released by Amnesty International, where it claimed that the Nigerian security forces ignored warnings about Boko Haram attack on Dapchi, a community in Yobe State, Nigeria, where over 100 schoolgirls were abducted by the elements of the Boko Haram insurgents". Amnesty said that the trials of Ali Abdulshaheed al-Sankis, Sami Mirza Mshaima and Abbas Jamil Taher Mhammad al-Samea failed to meet global standards. In Iran and Iraq, some of these "confessions" were broadcast on live television.

The men were executed by firing squad, and Amnesty said their lawyers did not have access to all of the evidence against them.

AI added that death penalties could be ended in the world if every country stands against the cruel punishment.

Speaking at the launch of the 2017 Global Death Penalty Report in Accra, Country Director of Amnesty International, Robert Amoafo Akoto revealed that seven people were sentenced to death in only 2017 but Ghana's prisons are now holding a total of 160 persons on death row, including six foreigners.

"We think that if the cult members are applying for a retrial, then the grounds for doing so must be considered given previous cases of unsound convictions", she said, adding that the group is "also concerned about several death row prisoners who are displaying symptoms of mental and intellectual disability".

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