IN the past decades many countries have abolished the death penalty but some nations still execute people.
Malaysia is the latest country to announce it is scrapping the lethal practice – so where is it still legal? Here’s what we know.
What countries have the death sentence?
As of late 2018 a total of 52 countries still have the death sentence, employing a variety of methods including hanging, shooting, lethal injection and beheading.
Because of the ongoing conflicts, Amnesty was unable to confirm whether executions were carried out in Syria, Libya and Yemen.
The Middle East and North Africa region accounted for the vast majority of all recorded executions, thanks largely to Iran and Saudi Arabia.
In October 2018 Malaysia announced it was scrapping the death penalty, meaning that more than 1,200 people currently on death row could be saved.
Belarus is the only European country not to have abolished it, executing two people in 2017 and more than 200 since 1990.
Countries that have the death penalty include:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- South Sudan
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United States of America
How many people were executed?
Amnesty International found that at least 993 executions in 23 countries were carried out in 2017, a drop of 4 per cent from 2016, when 1,032 executions were carried out and a decline of 39 percent from 2015 when there were 1,634 executions.
At least 2,591 death sentences in 53 countries were recorded in 2017, a significant decrease from the record-high of 3,117 recorded in 2016.
There are at least 21,919 people known to be currently under sentence of death around the world.
Nearly 90 per cent of these happened in just four countries: Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – but these figures exclude China and North Korea, where numbers remain a state secret.
Amnesty names China as the world’s top executioner but the true extent of the use of the death penalty there is unknown.
Iraq more than tripled its executions as it continued to battle Isis, while Egypt and Bangladesh more than doubled the numbers of people they killed.
On the other hand, the number of executions carried out in the US hit its lowest number for 25 years.
The country failed to make the world’s top five executioners for the first time since 2006.
But this has been put down to drug shortages and legal challenges against the death penalty.
What states in America still have the death penalty?
Almost 3,000 inmates are currently on death row in the US, according to the latest statistics, with each spending an average of 15 years waiting to be executed.
There have been 1,467 executions in America since 1976.
Which US states DO have the death penalty?
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
When was it abolished in the UK?
The last person to be sentenced to death in the Britain were Peter Anthony Allen and Gwynne Owen Evans – real name John Robson Walby – in 1964.
They had knifed a friend to death for money.
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The executions took place simultaneously at 8am on August 13.
Public anger led to the suspension of executions in 1965 and they were abolished in 1969.
Technically, the death penalty could still be imposed for offences including treason, violent piracy or certain military crimes until 1998, but no executions took place.