Amnesty International Report Finds Declining Executions and Trend Toward Abolition
Amnesty International's most recent death penalty report, "The Death Penalty Worldwide: Developments in 2005," revealed a substantial drop in recorded executions around the world, as well as a growing number of nations that have abandoned the death penalty. According to the report, four nations accounted for 94% of the 2,148 recorded executions carried out around the world in 2005, a total that is significantly less than the 3,797 executions recorded in 2004 (however, in many countries the exact number of executions is unknown). Those four nations are China (1,770), Iran (94), Saudi Arabia (86), and the United States (60). Only 22 countries carried out executions in 2005, down from 25 in 2004. This is the fourth straight year this figure has dropped and it has halved in the last 20 years.
Noting that 20,000 people are awaiting execution worldwide, Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen stated, "The death penalty is cruel and unnecessary, does not deter crime and often comes after torture, false 'confessions' and deeply unfair trials."
Amnesty's report also noted that a growing number of nation's are turning against the death penalty, and that concerns about wrongful convictions have spurred renewed efforts to abandon capital punishment for all crimes. The group reported that two prisoners were released from death row in the United States in 2005 after evidence of their innocence emerged. "There is a global tide against the death penalty which has left us with just the hardened countries still using it," said Amnesty International researcher Piers Bannister.
(The Scotsman, April 20, 2006). Read Amnesty International's report "The Death Penalty Worldwide: Developments in 2005." See International Death Penalty.