Amnesty International released its annual report on death penalty in London on 27 March 2014. According to report, at least 22 countries which are still applying death penalty, consider the abolition of capital punishment as a top priority. Also the number of countries which use the death penalty has reduced in the last 20 years.
Main highlights of the Report
• In 2013, at least 778 executions were recorded which is an increase of almost 15 percent as compared to 682 in 2012 excluding the China.
• There was a sharp increase in global trend in the number of executions in Iran (369) and Iraq (169) in 2013.
• China, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the USA topped the list in executions. In fact China is the country where more people are executed than anywhere else in the world.
• The USA is the only country in the Americas to carry out executions in 2013. The death penalty in the USA continued to be marked by error, inconsistency, racial disparities and, in a number of cases, a lack of adherence to specific provisions of international law or safeguards.
• In 2013, there were 39 executions carried out in 9 states of USA which is an increase of 34 percent in 2012 and there were 3108 people on death row in 2013.
• Europe and northern Central Asia became execution-free zones, where no case of capital punishment has been reported since 2009.
Amnesty International on death penalty in India
In 2013, India recorded the highest number of rejections in 25 years. President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the mercy petitions of 18 prisoners on death row in 2013.
Only one execution took place in India that is of Mohammad Afzal Guru in February 2013 which is in violation of the international standards. This is because Government of India didn’t allow legal representation of his choice, also his family was not informed in time of his imminent execution and his body was not returned to the family for last rites and burial.
In India, 72 new death sentences were known to have been imposed in 2013 and at least 400 people were believed to be on death row at the end of the year 2013.