Death Penalty 2013: Small Number of Countries Trigger Global Spike in Executions
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Iran and Iraq caused a sharp global spike in the number of executions carried out in 2013, bucking the global trend towards abolition of the death penalty, Amnesty International found in its annual review of the death penalty worldwide.
Alarming levels of executions in an isolated group of countries in 2013 - mainly the two Middle Eastern states - saw close to 100 more people put to death around the world compared to the previous year, a jump of almost 15 percent.
"The virtual killing sprees we saw in countries like Iran and Iraq were shameful. 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," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's Secretary General.
"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 number of executions in Iran (at least 369) and Iraq (169) saw the two countries take second and third place in the death penalty league table, with China topping the list. While the number of executions in China is kept secret, Amnesty International believes thousands are put to death every year.
Saudi Arabia (79) and the USA (39) take fourth and fifth place with Somalia (34) in sixth place.