In 2013, 22 countries across the globe executed 778 people, according to according to a new report from Amnesty International. Five countries led the way — China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the US, in that order.
China, number one on the list, keeps death penalty information a state secret. That makes knowing precisely how many people the country executes every year impossible. The Amnesty report noted, however, that “available information strongly indicates that China carries out more executions than the rest of the world combined.” The number is likely in the thousands.
Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia took the next three spots, with 369, 169, and 79 executions, respectively. Combined, they’re responsible for 95% of all executions in the Middle East and North Africa.
The U.S., one of only two G8 countries to still impose the death penalty (along with Japan), executed 39 people, down 10% from 2012. Nearly half, 41%, took place in Texas.
While 98 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, the number of death sentences actually increased between 2012 and 2013.
Of those sentences, many occurred because of non-lethal crimes like adultery and blasphemy.
In the last two decades, however, the number of countries that carry out executions has decreased by 15.
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