Iran Tops List of Executions, Amnesty Says
More than 1,500 people were executed under death penalty laws in 40 nations last year, including at least 661 in Iran, 292 in China and 114 in South Africa, Amnesty International said today.
The London-based international human rights organization said that in the United States the number of executions--21 in 1984--was rising and that 1,400 people were under sentence of death at the end of last year. Twelve have been executed in the United States so far this year.
But the group noted a worldwide trend toward abolishing the death penalty.
“By the end of 1984, 27 countries had abolished the death penalty for all offenses and 19 had ended it for all but extraordinary offenses such as certain wartime crimes,” Amnesty said.
Law in 130 Nations
The death penalty is still in force in 130 countries but many of them have not executed anyone for years, the report said.
The group said it had confirmed 661 executions in Iran last year, “but we believe many more actually took place.” It said 292 confirmed executions in China covered only urban centers and did not include small towns and villages.
The organization also said its total did not include Iraq, from where it received reports of hundreds of executions but was unable to confirm them individually.
Amnesty International said that in some countries, “people were executed for nonviolent crimes such as pornography, smuggling, theft and bribery.”