Amnesty says Botswana executed 1 criminal in 2016

Apr 12, 2017, 01:14
Amnesty says Botswana executed 1 criminal in 2016

In December 2016, the Supreme People's Court overturned the wrongful conviction of one of the most prominent case of miscarriage of justice and wrongful execution, Nie Shubin.

While China is by far the most secretive country in the world over the scale of its executions, it is not alone.

Amnesty International China researcher William Nee said while execution figures remained a state secret, he estimated China had executed thousands.

Malaysia was ranked 10th in the use of the death penalty among 23 countries where executions were recorded previous year, said Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM). But it remained the only country in the Americas to carry out executions for the eighth straight year.

While unable to arrive at a conclusive figure for China, the report exposes hundreds of death penalty cases missing from its national online court database.

Iran ranked second on the list with at least 567 executions in 2016.

Egypt doubled the number of executions it carried out from 22 in 2015 to 44 a year ago.

Meanwhile ordinary people caught in the crosshairs of the law have not been so lucky, it said.

Many people were put to death for alleged drug-related offenses and "vague offenses such as 'enmity against God, '" it says.

Globally, countries are moving away from the death penalty, with 141 countries abolishing it in law or practice, according to Amnesty.

Recently the risk of people being executed for crimes they did not commit has caused increasing alarm among the public in China.

Of those put to death in Iran, the group found, at least two people were under 18 at the time of the crime for which they had been convicted. Public executions were carried out in Iran (at least 33) and North Korea.

"In respect to death penalty it is leading in the worst possible way", Amnesty International's regional director for East Asia, Nicholas Bequelin, said. There was in increase in executions in both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

At least 856 executions were carried out across the MENA region in 2016, a drop of 28 percent from 2015 which had seen a sharp increase from previous years. It said that 31 were issued by special antiterrorism courts. This was the lowest number of executions recorded in a single year since 1991.

Amnesty began campaigning against the death penalty 36 years ago.

Father Chris Ponnet, leader of the St. Camillus Center in Los Angeles, speaks during a rally protesting against the death penalty and in favor of immigration reform, organized by "Catholics Against the Death Penalty-Southern California" during the four-day 2017 Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, California, February 25, 2017.

Amnesty noted that lawyers for the defendants claimed that vital evidence was omitted during their trials.

The partial dataset showed that the majority of the people whose death sentences were confirmed were either farmers or unemployed.

In one high-profile case that highlighted the problematic use of the death penalty, last year a man was exonerated 21 years after he was executed by firing squad for murder.

The ruling Communist Party considers the death toll a state secret.

But Amnesty said it was encouraged by a continued decrease in the number of executions and death sentences there during 2016.

In the U.S. executions are at an historic low, with only 20 death sentences carried out in 2015 compared to 28 the year before, and five times lower than the turn of the century. Sri Lanka had 79 death sentences a year ago.