World Bulletin / News Desk
High numbers of executions carried out in Iraq and Iran are responsible for a rise in global levels of capital punishment, according to a new report by Amnesty International.
A total of 778 people were put to death worldwide in 2013 compared to 682 the previous year, with most of the increase attributable to Iran executing 369 people and Iraq 169, Amnesty said in an annual review released Thursday.
"The virtual killing sprees we saw in countries like Iran and Iraq were shameful. But states which cling to the death penalty are on the wrong side of history and are, in fact, growing more and more isolated," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary general.
The number of countries which executed people grew to a total of 22, one more than the previous year, the report said, with the methods of execution included "beheading, electrocution, firing squad, hanging and lethal injection."
China carried out the highest number of executions, followed by Iran and then Iraq.
Saudi Arabia with 79 executions and the United States with 39 occupied the next two places on the list of top five executioners in 2013.
Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia accounted for 80 percent of the world’s executions, excluding China, according to the report.
Shetty added: "Only a small number of countries carried out the vast majority of these senseless state-sponsored killings, but they can't undo the overall progress already made towards abolition.
"The long-term trend is clear -- the death penalty is becoming a thing of the past. We urge all governments who still kill in the name of justice to impose a moratorium on the death penalty immediately, with a view to abolishing it."
The report also disclosed public executions took place in Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Somalia.
Saudi Arabia continued executing at the same rate as in previous years but, for the first time, breached international law with the execution of three juvenile offenders.
The number of executions in China is kept secret, but Amnesty says it believes thousands are killed each year in the single-party state.
Gambia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan all suspended the use of the death penalty.
Europe and Central Asia became "execution-free" for the first time since 2009.Last Mod: 27 Mart 2014, 15:33