27 March, 2012

Amnesty International Report: Death Sentences and Executions 2011

Updated 29th March and 31st March

Amnesty International has issued a report - Death Sentences and Executions 2011.  This should be mandatory reading for anyone concerned about the state of human rights in the world today.

In relation to the use of the death penalty for convicted juveniles see Amnesty on the Iranian case of Behnoud Shojee (aged 17 at the time of his offence) - "One Iranian Lawyer's fight to save juveniles from execution"  This is a very powerful piece of animation about the actual case of Shojee who was executed on 11th October 2009.  The victim's family could have prevented the execution but did not do so.

In the United States of America, executions have continued but there are some encouraging signs of a move away from the death penalty in some States.  The Amnesty report states:

While the USA was once again the only
executioner in the (Americas) region during the year, developments in 2011 continued to suggest that this country is also edging away from the use of the death penalty. Illinois became the 16th abolitionist state in the USA and the third state to enact legislation to abolish the death penalty since 2007, following New Jersey in 2007 and New Mexico in 2009. In addition, a moratorium on executions was established in the state of Oregon in November.

During 2011, 43 executions were recorded in 13 of the 34 US states that retain the death penalty. Of these, the majority (74 per cent) was carried out in the southern states with 13 executions in Texas accounting for 30 per cent of the total number. Other states that carried out executions were: Alabama (6), Arizona (4), Delaware (1), Florida (2), Georgia (4), Idaho (1), Mississippi (2), Missouri (1), Ohio (5), Oklahoma (2), South Carolina (1) and Virginia (1)."

Addendum 29th March:

See the The Guardian's interactive page on the Death Penalty worldwide.

Addendum 31st March:

The Guardian - "Japan hangs three prisoners after 18 months stay of execution."  Japan has carried out its first executions in more than 18 months, hanging three death row inmates on Thursday 29th March and angering campaigners who believed the country was moving towards abolition of the death penalty.

The Guardian's article also notes:

The US - the only G7 country to carry out executions last year - is one of 58 countries, including Japan, China and Iran, that retain capital punishment. More than 140 countries, including all EU members, have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

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