For Second Year, Death Penalty Bill Clears Senate Committee

James Osgood

James Osgood

Amnesty International capital punishment expert Oluwatosin Popoola warns there are caveats. But Amnesty notes that the true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown and thousands of state sanctioned executions are still believed to be carried out.

Both Iran and Pakistan saw a decline in the number of executions compared to the previous year - some 10 percent in Iran and more than 30 percent in Pakistan. He says it is more hard to explain the reductions when it comes to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Amnesty said that authorities in Saudi Arabia also "routinely failed to inform families of their relatives' imminent execution".

Amnesty claims these actions represent a breach of protections recognized under Japanese and global laws and signal a "departure from the practice observed for 20 years".

Due to secrecy about how laws are enforced in a number of countries, the exact number of people executed for drug-related crimes globally remains unclear.

The findings also highlights a massive blind spot.

The Amnesty report focused on judicial use of the death penalty and does not include extrajudicial killings, arbitrary executions or summary executions.

Malaysia has amended the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to give judges discretion over the previously mandatory death penalty.

The number of executions fell from 87 in 2016 to 60 in 2017.

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Excluding China, Amnesty says that 84 percent of all executions documented worldwide were carried out in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.

A senior public prosecutor, Syed Naeem, who represented the state in the trial, said: "The anti-terrorism court sentenced the convict under section 376 to death and fined him Rs 200,000, sentenced him to death and fiend him Rs200,000 under 302, and also sentenced him to death and fined him Rs200,000 under section 7 of the ATA".

"The executions appeared to be carried out, in fact, in reaction to attacks that were carried out in the country". Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates resumed executions in 2017.

But Amnesty International's Secretary General Salil Shetty asserted that the progress in sub-Saharan Africa reinforced its position as a beacon of hope for abolition.

There was a continuing trend in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to abolish the death penalty, the report noted.

"We are of the strong conviction that AI is on a clear-cut mission of sabotaging our nation's security by tactically using its many and persistent frivolous reports to demean the effort of our armed forces and ostensibly ginger the Boko Haram terrorists who again have begun tormenting the North East region of the country", it reads further. Of the 35 Member states of the Organization of American States, only the U.S. carried out executions. In 2016 more than 3,100 people were put to death, in 2017 that number dropped to 2,600.

"Despite strides toward abolishing this abhorrent punishment, there are still a few leaders who would resort to the death penalty as a "quick-fix" rather than tackling problems at their roots with humane, effective and evidence-based policies".

FOX 44 - The death penalty will likely stay alive in Louisiana for the foreseeable future, after a state House panel struck down a bill to end the practice Wednesday. Such countries, he says, "can immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty".

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