Amnesty Says 600 Killed, 2285 On Death Row In Nigeria

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The death toll could be in the thousands, according to Amnesty.

Professor Steve Tsang, political scientist and director of SOAS China Institute, says Beijing is also reducing the number of executions but the Chinese government is reluctant to release the figures because it is still particularly high in comparison to other countries.

In Iran, 40% of the more than 500 executions were for drugs offences, while similarly 40% of Saudi Arabia's almost 150 executions were for drugs offences.

Amnesty could not confirm the number of executions for drug-related crimes in China previous year, as the country treats the information as a state secret. However, under the leadership of Duterte, the country has been engaged in a "drug war" that has led to the deaths of thousands of people in extrajudicial police killings, and there are efforts in the country's legislature to reinstate the death penalty.

Amnesty International, the human rights organisation, recorded 993 executions across 23 countries in 2017 which is a drop of four per cent on 2016.

Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) resumed executions in 2017, the report said. Executions doubled or nearly doubled in Palestine, from three in 2016 to six in 2017; from four to eight in Singapore; and from 14 to 24 in Somalia.

And it's time for Australia to "step up" and increase pressure on its neighbours if the region is to abolish the death penalty, according to Amnesty International spokeswoman Rose Kulak.

Amnesty International says 2017 saw a significant drop in the number of death sentences issued around the world.

The AI report noted that at least 38 new mandatory death sentences were imposed past year - 21 for drug trafficking, 16 for murder and one for the discharge of a firearm. "Though rulers like Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman trumpet supposed "reforms" - Saudi executioners are as busy now as they were two years ago". Public executions were carried out in Iran (at least 31).

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's Secretary General, said: "Strong leaders execute justice, not people". In Iran and Iraq, some of these "confessions" were broadcast on live television.

The state has a constitutional obligation to provide a defense in court for people facing the death penalty, and it has cost Louisiana $100 million over the past 10 years.

Even the US remained the only country in the Americas to hold out executions, with 2-3 final calendar year, up slightly in the year before.

For the second year in a row, and the second time since 2006, the USA did not feature among the top five global executioners, with its position in the global ranking dropping from seventh to eighth.

Military courts sentenced a high number of civilians to death in Pakistan, the report noted.

Right now in Louisiana, the death penalty can be handed down in cases of first degree murder, first degree rape and treason. Sen. But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that Russia's moratorium on the use of the death penalty will not be suspended, the report said. Guatemala became the 142nd country to have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. The state has not carried out an execution since 2010.

For reference, Singapore has a population of 5.6 million and executed eight people for drug-related offences past year. Iran decreased the number of people it has killed for drug crimes by 40 percent.

At least 1,037 new death sentences were imposed in the region, a slight decrease from 2016. Amnesty said that the trials of Ali Abdulshaheed al-Sankis, Sami Mirza Mshaima and Abbas Jamil Taher Mhammad al-Samea failed to meet worldwide standards. Figures for death sentences in India, Indonesia Pakistan and Thailand, among other countries, were lower compared to 2016.

Governments also breached several other prohibitions under worldwide law in 2017.

Shetty said with the progress in Africa, "the isolation of the world's remaining executing countries could not be starker".

Four percent fewer executions - is it a global trend?

Walter Sanchez, a member of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said that in the last 15 years, only 16 of Louisiana's 64 parishes have sent someone to death row.

However, despite these concerns, victory against the death penalty in the region remains an attainable goal.

Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq remained the top three executing countries, accounting for 92% of executions in the region. Saudi Arabia executed 146 people, representing 17% of all confirmed executions in the region.

Not one country in the region had abolished the punishment for all crimes.

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