Top five executing countries were China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and USA...
Despite some disappointing setbacks the global trend towards ending the death penalty continued last year, said Amnesty International, as it released new global figures on executions and death sentences.
The figures...show that there were at least 682 confirmed executions around the world last year, two more than in 2011. Meanwhile, there were at least 1,722 newly-imposed death sentences in 58 countries, compared to 1,923 in 63 countries in 2011. This meant that at least 23,386 people were under sentence of death worldwide at the end of 2012.
Twenty-one countries are confirmed as having carried out executions in 2012 - the same number as in 2011 - but Amnesty pointed out that this is significantly down from levels a decade ago (28 countries carried out executions in 2003). Last year Latvia became the 97th country in the world to remove the death penalty for all crimes, and Amnesty’s figures show that more than two-thirds of the world’s countries (140) are now “abolitionist in law or practice”. Last year also saw a major academic study in the USA which rejected arguments that the death penalty is a deterrent against crime, a finding that Amnesty welcomed as it called on the one in ten countries still conducting executions to abandon the practice.
However, there were reverses in 2012 and Amnesty expressed strong concern at a resumption of executions in several countries - India, Japan, Pakistan and Gambia - that had not used the death penalty for some time.
From Amnesty International: press release and report [PDF].