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Almost 700 people executed last year across the world

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More than 19,000 people are currently languishing on death row, according to shocking new figures.

Officially there were at least 690 deaths across 20 countries in 2018.

However, the figure is known to be much higher because China – the biggest executioner in the world – doesnt reveal its total.

Iranian officials prepare the noose for the execution of Balal, who killed fellow Iranian youth Abdolah Hosseinzadeh in a street fight with a knife in 2007, during his execution ceremony in the northern city of Noor on April 15, 2014. Samereh Alinejad, the mother of Abdolah Hosseinzadeh, spared the life of Balal, her son's convicted murderer, with an emotional slap in the face as he awaited execution prior to removing the noose around his neck with the help of her husband. AFP PHOTO/ARASH KHAMOOSHI/ISNA (Photo credit should read ARASH KHAMOOSHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran is one of the worlds biggest executioners (Picture: AFP)

Amnesty International estimates that several thousand people die in the secretive state each year.

They are followed by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Iraq for the most number of people to die for so-called crimes.

Amnesty Internationals Secretary General, Kumi Naidoo, said: Amnesty has been campaigning to stop executions around the world for more than 40 years – but with more than 19,000 people still languishing on death row worldwide, the struggle is far from over.

The number of global executions fell a third last year – 993 to 690 – which is its lowest in a decade.

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There was a marked reduction in Iran because of changes to drug laws.

But several countries saw a rise in executions, namely Belarus, Japan, Singapore, South Sudan and the USA.

Thailand carried out its first execution since 2009, while Sri Lankas President declared he would resume executions after more than 40 years and posted an advert seeking executioners.

Brunei also announced it would start to stone to death men who have same-sex relationships, although the last state-killing in the island nation was in 1957.

Minimum number of executions carried out last year

China: Unknown number
North Korea: Unknown number
Iran: 253
Saudi Arabia: 149
Vietnam: 85
Iraq: 52
Egypt: 43
USA: 25
Japan: 15
Pakistan: 14
Singapore: 13
Somalia: 13
South Sudan: 7
Belarus: 4
Yemen: 4
Afghanistan: 3
Botswana: 2
Sudan: 2
Taiwan 1
Thailand: 1

According to a new report by the human rights group Amnesty, the method of death varies between countries.

Saudi Arabia opts to behead its prisoners while most people in the USA died through the electric chair or lethal injection.

Hanging is used in Afghanistan, Botswana, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, Singapore, South Sudan and Sudan.

The shooting of convicts happens in Belarus, China, North Korea, Somalia, Taiwan and Yemen.

Amnesty said they had major concerns about the number of death penalties being handed out by the courts in a number of countries.

In Iraq, the number quadrupled from at least 65 in 2017 to at least 271 last year.

In Egypt, the number of death sentences handed down rose by more than 75%, from at least 402 in 2017, to at least 717 in 2018.

Amnesty said this rise could be attributed to the Egyptian authorities appalling track recRead More – Source

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