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The number of global executions is down, says Amnesty International



At least 690 executions were carried out in 20 countries in 2018, which was a 31% decrease from 2017's total of 993 executions or more.

The report is a moment of cautious optimism for human rights advocates who believe in the death penalty to a cruel and inhumane practice. However, along with the general decrease of executions, there are points of concern.

According to Amnesty International's report, 45 people were put to death in the United States in 2018. This is a slight increase from 2017, when 41 were executed. However, in general, the rise is actually small compared to the general downward trend.

"There has been an increase in the number of executions [in the US]but it is still within historical lows," Chiara Sangiorgio, Amnesty International's Advisor on the Death Penalty, told CNN.

The death penalty is rare in the US, but is still legal in most states

The death penalty is legal in 30 US states, but that number does not paint an accurate picture of its actual prevalence. For instance, four US states in which the death penalty are legally underpinned by their respective governors. Furthermore, there are several states that recognize the death penalty, but have not actually executed anyone in years.

Sangiorgio says Amnesty International monitors legislative changes and leadership.

"We are seeing a few states of resume executions after several years, so we find that concern," Sangiorgio says. [In 201
8]Washington became the 20th state to abolish the death penalty. [Governor Gavin Newsom] recently suspended the death penalty. "[19659007]

Sangiorgio says the historically low number of executions in 2018 the world's leading executing countries. For instance, Iran has historically been one of the world's leading executing countries, dropping by more than 50% in 2018.

"There's a significant drop in executions for drug related offenses in Iran, because of a change in the laws from last year, "Sangiorgio says. Other countries that lead the implementation of the death penalty, like Pakistan and Iraq, have an ease in usually high numbers from last year.

And again, the numbers are only half the story.

"There is reason for positive hopes, not only in the drop of executions, but in the number of countries that have decided to abolish the practice," Sangiorgio says. "Burkina Faso, Zambia and Malaysia all abolished or moved to abolishing the death penalty this year." However, she points out that other countries like Japan, Singapore and Taiwan resumed executing people after a period of inactivity.
Since then, Amnesty International has not counted the number of executions reported in China.

"China has yet to publish any figures on the death penalty ;, however, there are thousands of people being executed and sentenced to death," the report reads.

Amnesty International's reporting thus clarifies that many of their numbers are technically minimum estimates, which is why language like "at least 690 executions" is used.


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