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Group charges government to end death penalty

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A group under the aegis of Amnesty International has called on the government to abolish death penalty, noting that the practice is inhuman.

The group said there is need to put pressure on the world’s last remaining executioners to end death penalty practice for good.
 
The group in a statement by Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research, Advocacy and Policy, Clare Algar, while giving report of death penalty in year 2019 said that there is need to keep up the momentum for the global abolition of the death penalty.

According to the statement, death penalty 2019, Saudi Arabia executed a number of people last year amid decline in global executions. “Saudi Arabia, Iraq, South Sudan, and Yemen bucked a global trend with spikes in executions.

“Global executions fell by five percent, hitting a 10-year low, Saudi authorities put 184 people to death last year, the highest number Amnesty has ever recorded in a single year in the country,” Algar said.

Meanwhile, the number of executions doubled in Iraq, and Iran retained its place, as the world’s second most prolific executioner after China, where the exact number of people put to death remains a state secret.

“It continued that the global executions decrease for the fourth consecutive year to at least 657 in 2019 from at least 690 in 2018, the lowest recorded figure of the past decade.

“The death penalty is an abhorrent and inhuman punishment; and there is no credible evidence that it deters crime more than prisons terms. A large majority of countries recognize this and it’s encouraging to see that executions continue to fall worldwide.

“A small number of countries defied the global trend away from the death penalty by increasingly resorting to executions. Saudi Arabia’s growing use of the death penalty, including as a weapon against political dissidents, is an alarming development,” she said.

She further stated that there were massive executions in Iraq, which nearly doubled in just one year. “The top five executing countries in 2019 were: China (1000s); Iran (at least 251); Saudi Arabia (184); Iraq (at least 100) and Egypt (at least 32).

She noted that Amnesty’s figures do not include China, where the number of executions, believed to be in the thousands, remains classified. Other major executing countries, including Iran, North Korea and Viet Nam, continued to hide the full extent of their use of the death penalty by restricting access to death penalty information.

“20 countries are responsible for all known executions worldwide. Among them, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen executed significantly more people in 2019 than in 2018.

“Saudi Arabia executed 184 people — six women and 178 men – in 2019, just over half of whom were foreign nationals. The figure was 149 in 2018.

“The majority of executions were for drug-related offences and murder. However, Amnesty International also documented the increased use of the death penalty as a political weapon against dissidents from Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a Muslim minority,” she said.

On 23 April 2019, there was a mass execution of 37 people, 32 of them Shi’a men convicted on “terrorism” charges after trials that relied on confessions extracted through torture. The group therefore called on the states to abolish the death penalty. 


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