Execution Worldwide Up by 15%, Amnesty International Reports

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By Athena Yenko | March 28, 2014 2:05 PM EST

In the past, there were 37 countries who were implementing the death penalty aggressively.  By 2004, there were only 25 countries left implementing death penalties.

By 2013, there were only 22 countries left with only 9 countries conducting execution yearly for the past five years.

However, even with the diminishing number of countries supporting the death penalty, Amnesty International reports that executions worldwide rose by 15 per cent in 2013.

Amnesty International said that the increase was brought by the alarming spike in executions in Iran (at least 369) and Iraq (at least 169). Somalia also showed an alarming swell in its executions - from 6 in 2012 to 34 in 2013.

The top "executioners" were China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

 According to the report, there were at least 778 executions that occurred in 22 countries around the world.

"The virtual killing sprees we saw in countries like Iran and Iraq were shameful," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's Secretary General.

Despite the increase in global execution, these executions were already isolated as there were more countries that had abolished death penalties in the previous years, according to Ms Shetty.

"But those states who cling to the death penalty are on the wrong side of history and are, in fact, growing more and more isolated. Only a small number of countries carried out the vast majority of these senseless state-sponsored killings. They can't undo the overall progress already made towards abolition. The long-term trend is clear - the death penalty is becoming a thing of the past. We urge all governments who still kill in the name of justice to impose a moratorium on the death penalty immediately, with a view to abolishing it." Ms Shetty said.

Amnesty International noted that China has the most execution held with the rest of the world combined but China kept their records classified.

However, Amnesty International claimed that  "available information strongly indicates that China carries out more executions than the rest of the world combined."

"While the number of executions in China is kept secret, Amnesty International believes thousands are put to death every year, as written in the report.

In Australia, the last person to be executed was Ronald Ryan in 1967 for shooting a prison guard in his attempt to escape.

Australia had not carried out executions since the approval of the Death Penalty Abolition Act of 1973.

Queensland abolished the death penalty for all crimes in 1992.

NSW followed suit in 1985 although it already had abolished death penalty for murder in 1955.

Australia voiced its opposition against death penalty across nations on Oct. 2 1990 with the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty.

By July 11, 1991, international law included The Protocol.

On March 11 2010, the Commonwealth Parliament passed the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Torture Prohibition and Death Penalty Abolition) Act - amending the Death Penalty Abolition Act 1973 .

With the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Torture Prohibition and Death Penalty Abolition) Act, all states were prohibited in bringing back the death penalty.

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