Amnesty International has released a global review of the death penalty, the 36-page Death Sentences and Executions 2009, along with a one-page supplemental Updates to “Death Sentences and Executions 2009”.
Among numerous other facts and findings, the report suggests that:
“. . . at least 714 people were executed in 18 countries and at least 2001 people were sentenced to death in 56 countries last year.
“This excludes the thousands of executions that were likely to have taken place in China, where information on the death penalty remains a state secret.
“In a challenge to China’s lack of transparency, Amnesty International has decided not to publish its own minimum figures for Chinese executions and death sentences in 2009. Estimates based on the publicly available information grossly under represent the actual number the state killed or sentenced to death . . .
“Amnesty International’s research shows that countries that still carry out executions are the exception rather than the rule. In addition to China, the worst offending nations were Iran with at least 388 executions, Iraq at least 120, Saudi Arabia at least 69 and the USA with 52.
“The past year saw capital punishment applied extensively to send political messages, to silence opponents or to promote political agendas in China, Iran and Sudan, according to Amnesty International’s report.
“In Iran, 112 executions were known to have taken place in the eight-week period between the presidential election on 12 June and the inauguration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a second term as President on 5 August.”
Amnesty International is an international advocacy organization with more than 2.2 million members in 150 countries “who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all.” (For more detail see About Amnesty International on their webpage.)