Amnesty International released its 2016 global review of the death penalty today. Excluding China, states around the world executed 1,032 people in 2016. China executed more than all other countries in the world put together, while the USA reached a historic low in its use of the death penalty in 2016.
- The fall in executions worldwide is largely driven by drops in Iran (down 42% from at least 977 to at least 567) and Pakistan (73%, from 326 to 87).
- In sub-Saharan Africa fewer executions were recorded but the number of death sentences more than doubled, largely due to a steep rise in Nigeria.
- In the Middle East and North Africa the number of executions decreased by 28%, but Iran and Saudi Arabia remained among the top executioners
- Two countries abolished the death penalty for all crimes (Benin and Nauru); Guinea abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes only.
China’s ‘Deadly Secrets’
A new in-depth investigation by Amnesty International, also published today, shows that the Chinese authorities enforce an elaborate secrecy system to obscure the shocking scale of executions in the country, despite repeated claims it is making progress towards judicial transparency.
Amnesty International’s investigation exposes that hundreds of documented death penalty cases are missing from a national online court database that was initially touted as a “crucial step towards openness” and is regularly heralded as evidence that the country’s judicial system has nothing to hide.
Amnesty International found public news reports of at least 931 individuals executed between 2014 and 2016 (only a fraction of the total executions), but only 85 of them are in the state database.