In Brief

Which country executes the most people?

At least 993 executions recorded worldwide last year but true figure may be far higher

The number of executions recorded worldwide fell by 4% last year - but the true number of deaths may have soared, according to Amnesty International.

At least 993 people were executed in a total of 23 countries last year, compared with 1,032 in 2016. However, many countries, including China, do not release data on capital punishment.

Amnesty’s latest annual report on capital punishment, released today, says that the Asian superpower is thought to have implemented “more death sentences that the rest of the world combined”.

The human rights campaign group believes thousands of executions and death sentences may have been carried out last year in China, where data on capital punishment is “considered a state secret”, says The Guardian.

At least 2,591 death sentences were recorded in 53 countries in 2017 - down from a record high of 3,117 in 2016. At least 21,919 people are known to be under a death sentence.

 “The figures compiled by the charity represent a minimum number of recorded executions, with numbers in many countries thought to in fact be much higher,” reports The Daily Telegraph.

Iran carried out the highest recorded number of executions, at 508. At least five of those killed were aged under 18 at the time of their alleged crime, and 31 of the executions were carried out in public.

“In Iran, basic fair trial guarantees were absent in death penalty cases, and the courts often relied on ‘confessions’ extracted under torture to impose death sentences,” the newspaper says.

Saudi Arabia had the second-highest number of executions, at 146, followed by Iraq (125).

The US ranks fifth with 23 executions, after Pakistan (60), Egypt (35) and Somalie (24).

A total of 142 countries have abolished the death penalty.

Infographic by www.statista.com for TheWeek.co.uk

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