Death penalties all over the world decreased by 31% in 2018, compared to 2017, according to the Amnesty International on Wednesday.
“Amnesty International recorded at least 690 executions in 20 countries in 2018, a decrease of 31% compared to 2017 (at least 993),” it said on its website, adding that it was the “lowest number” recorded over the past decade.
“This reflected a significant reduction in some of the world’s lead executing countries, such as Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia,” the group said in its 2018 report on death penalty.
It also said there is a decline in the number of countries carrying out executions, with the number of the cases reduced to one third.
It added that the statistics included publicly known death penalty practices, and China was not included in the figures, as it keeps the executions a secret.
The group noted that the number fell by a “staggering” 50% in Iran following a change to its anti-narcotics laws.
Other countries where the practice decreased included Pakistan and Somalia, while death penalties increased in Belarus, Japan, Singapore, South Sudan and the U.S.
“Thailand carried out its first execution since 2009, while Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena declared he would resume executions after more than 40 years, posting an advert seeking executioners in February 2019,” it said.
Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said on the report that “the dramatic global fall” in the practices proved that many countries, including the most unlikely ones, were starting to realize that death penalty is not the answer.
He went on to say: “Despite regressive steps from some, the number of executions carried out by several of the worst perpetrators has fallen significantly.
“This is a hopeful indication that it’s only a matter of time before this cruel punishment is consigned to history, where it belongs.”
Naidoo also noted that some small number of states were “shamefully determined to buck the trend.”
“To all the countries that still resort to the death penalty, I challenge you to act boldly and put a stop to this abhorrent punishment now,” he urged.
*Writing by Sena GulerAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.