23 countries carried out executions in 2010, which is four more than in 2009, but the use of the death penalty is globally continuing to fall according to an annual report by Amnesty International. (photo, from bbcimg.co.uk)
The rights group said that the number of people executed dropped from at least 714 to at least 527.
According to the report last year the US carried out 46 executions.
But the report does not include China, and the country’s executions are believed to be more than all the countries put together.
Mongolia declared a moratorium on the death penalty, and last year Gabon ceased the practice, becoming the 139th country to do so.
After an execution-free year in 2009, the death penalty returned to Europe last year with two executions in Belarus.
‘Closer to global abolition’
The report by Amnesty International also expresses alarm because a significant number of executions or death sentences handed down in 2010 were for drug offences.
In Malaysia they represent more than half of the death sentences in Malaysia.
Executions were carried out with different methods worldwide : beheading, electrocution, hanging, lethal injection and various kinds of shooting.
Although stoning sentences were recorded in Nigeria, Pakistan and Iran, no stonings were recorded in 2010.
“In spite of some setbacks, developments in 2010 brought us closer to global abolition,” said Amnesty secretary general Salil Shetty.
But he added: “The minority of states that continue to systematically use the death penalty were responsible for thousands of executions in 2010, defying the global anti-death penalty trend.”