US World's No. 5 Executioner: Amnesty

Executions surge in Middle East
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2012 7:11 AM CDT
US World's No. 5 Executioner: Amnesty
The execution room at the Oregon State Penitentiary, in Salem, Ore. is seen in this file photo. The United States was the only Western democracy that executed prisoners last year.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(Newser) – Fewer countries than ever are executing people, but those countries are doing so with gusto, according to a new report from Amnesty International. Just 20 nations still use the death penalty. The US executed 43 people last year, making it 5th globally, and the only Western democracy on the list, the AP reports. “If you look at the company we're in globally, it's not the company we want to be in: China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq,” said the executive director of Amnesty International USA.

story continues below

In all, 676 people were executed around the world last year, and another 18,750 are awaiting execution. Those figures don't include China, which Amnesty suspects executed thousands of people, more than the rest of the world combined, CNN reports. Executions surged 50% in the Middle East compared to last year, with Saudi Arabia executing 82, Iraq at least 62, Yemen at least 41, and Iran at least 360. People were executed for crimes including adultery, sodomy, blasphemy, and drug offenses, and in many cases without a fair trial, with confessions often extracted via torture. (Read more death penalty stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.