In Brief

Death penalty: how public views differ around the world

Support for capital punishment in Britain falls below 50 per cent for the first time on record

Support among Britons for capital punishment has fallen below 50 per cent for the first time, according to this year's British Social Attitudes Survey.

The report found that 48 per cent of the 2,878 people it surveyed were in favour of the death penalty, marking a large fall from 75 per cent in 1983, when the survey first began.

Britain legally abolished the death penalty under the Human Rights Act in 1998, although the last executions in the UK were back in 1964.

According to Amnesty International, 90 per cent of countries have now banned executions, but at least 22 countries carried out executions in 2013.

China does not release official figures on capital punishment, but it was estimated to have executed more people in 2013 than all other countries put together. Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United States also feature highly on the list of countries with the most executions that year.

But what does the public think about capital punishment in other countries?

In Japan, where eight people were executed in 2013, surveys suggest that a large majority of the public is in favour of the death penalty. Meanwhile, in Australia, where nobody has been executed since 1967, just 23 per cent of people thought convicted murderers should be put to death. However, support for the death penalty rose to 53 per cent in a later poll when Australians were asked specifically about capital punishment for deadly terrorist acts. Click the image below to enlarge:

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