At least 607 executions took place in the world in 2014, a fall of 22% compared to the year before, says the yearly report on capital punishment by Amnesty International, published on Wednesday. The number of death sentences, however, rose to 2,466 cases, an increase of 28% in a year. Data on China, which is the country that uses the death penalty most, is not included, as Peking keeps that information secret. 22 countries used the death penalty in 2014, the same as the year before. Bangladesh, Botswana, Indonesia, India, Kuwait, Nigeria and south Sudan stopped using it. However, Belorussia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Jordan, Pakistan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates started.
If we don’t count China, which is suspected of being the country that executes the most criminals, 72% of the 607 executions recorded in 2014 took place in Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
The number of sentences went up by 28%, which is mainly due to Egypt and Nigeria. Egypt handed out 509 death sentences in 2014, compared to 109 the year before. Nigeria sentenced 659 people to death, compared to just 141 the previous year.
Amnesty International has made the abolition of capital punishment one of its main priorities. It has said it is glad that an increasing number of countries have decided to abolish the death penalty. In 1995, 59 countries abolished capital punishment. In 2014, 98 followed suit. The number of countries actively using the death penalty has also deceased at the same rate, falling from 41 in 1995 to 22 in 2014.
Andy Sanchez (Source: Belga)