Times Wire Reports

The number of prisoners put to death decreased last year, a human rights group said, adding that the vast majority of the executions took place in China.

The anti-death penalty group Hands Off Cain said at least 5,727 executions were carried out in 2008, down from 5,851 the year before. It said that 46 countries retained the death penalty last year, three fewer than in 2007, with Burundi and Uzbekistan abolishing capital punishment. Sierra Leone has not carried out any executions for more than a decade, in effect abolishing the death penalty.

The report said China accounted for at least 5,000 executions, or 87.3% of the total. The number of executions in the United States decreased.