Thursday, April 20, 2006

China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, US executed most in 2005: Amnesty

Yahoo News:

Thu Apr 20, 2:38 AM ET

China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States carried out most of the world's executions in 2005, Amnesty International said as it released new figures on the use of the death penalty.

The London-based human rights group said the four countries carried out nearly 94 percent of the 2,148 known executions in 2005 in 22 countries.

Some 1,770 executions were reported in China -- although Amnesty said it suspected the real figure was higher -- with at least 94 in Iran, 86 in Saudi Arabia and 60 in the United States.

Overall, 5,186 people were sentenced to death in 53 countries in the 12 months to December last year, although their sentence will either never be carried out or has yet to be performed, it added.

Taken with previous figures, Amnesty estimated there were more than 20,000 people on death row across the world, describing the figures as "truly disturbing".

"The death penalty is the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights because it contravenes the essence of human values," said Irene Khan, secretary general of the rights group.

"It is often applied in a discriminatory manner, follows unfair trials or is applied for political reasons. It can be an irreversible error when there is miscarriage of justice."

Khan renewed her organisation's long-held call for the practice to be abolished, arguing that it was not a "unique deterrent" to crime.

She said it was a "glaring anomaly" that China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States still used the deadly sanction when countries such as Mexico and Liberia had recently voted to abolish it.

In particular, she called on Iran -- "the only country known to Amnesty International to have executed juvenile offenders in 2005" -- and others to follow the lead of the United States and ban the death penalty for under-18s.

To end capital punishment for juveniles completely would be a "remarkable human rights achievement", she added.

"The momentum against the death penalty has become unstoppable, said Khan.

She noted that in 1977, only 16 countries had abolished the death penalty for all crimes. By 2005, that figure had risen to 86.


Post a Comment

<< Home