China fails to reveal execution numbers despite Urumqi incidents:Amnesty

Amnesty International criticized China for failing to reveal the number of people it executed last year.

China fails to reveal execution numbers despite Urumqi incidents:Amnesty

Amnesty International criticized China on Tuesday for failing to reveal the number of people it executed last year, which the rights group estimates is more than the rest of the world combined.

"Chinese authorities claim that fewer executions are taking place. If this is true, why won't they tell the world how many people the state put to death?" he said, releasing Amnesty's 2009 death sentences and executions report.

Eighteen countries executed a total of at least 714 people last year, and more than 2,000 people were sentenced to death in 56 countries. Amnesty said its figures were conservative and did not include a death count from China, which the rights group believes is in the thousands.

Iran had the second highest number of executions in 2009, Amnesty said in a new report, adding that about a third of the country's 388 executions took place in eight weeks of turmoil following Iran's disputed presidential election in June.

"The past year saw capital punishment applied extensively to send political messages, to silence opponents or to promote political agendas," Amnesty interim secretary general Claudio Cordone said in a statement.

Discounting China, Iraq passed the most death sentences last year, and carried out 120 executions, putting it in third place.

China is already under the spotlight due to a row over censorship with internet search giant Google Inc.

Execution methods recorded included hanging, shooting, beheading, stoning, electrocution and lethal injection.

Iran and Saudi Arabia were singled out for executing juveniles, which Amnesty says violates international law.

Moving Toward abolition

In the Americas, the United States was the only country to carry out executions last year, but the 52 killings were about half the number recorded a decade earlier in 1999.

As in previous years, the majority of the world's executions took place in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, but Amnesty said more countries were moving toward abolishing the death penalty, and others were limiting use of the practice.

Amnesty calls for an end to capital punishment. It believes death sentences are often passed after unfair trials and are used disproportionately against the poor, minorities and members of racial, ethnic and religious communities.

The group said two more countries had abolished capital punishment in 2009, Burundi and Togo, bringing the total to 95.

There were no executions in Europe last year, a first since Amnesty began keeping records, with Belarus the only country that continues to use capital punishment.

"Fewer countries than ever before are carrying out executions. As it did with slavery and apartheid, the world is rejecting this embarrassment to humanity," Cordone said.
 

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 31 Mart 2010, 02:04
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