Amnesty Lauds Progress in Death Penalty Abolition

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The figures, contained in Death Sentences and Executions in 2017 released on Thursday, show the Middle East and North Africa account for 847 of 933 reported death penalties.

China aside, executions worldwide dropped from 1,032 in 2016 to 993 previous year - a decline of four per cent.

"With countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain all appearing in this gruesome tally of Middle Eastern states executing prisoners - many after unfair trials - the United Kingdom needs to ensure that abolition of the death penalty is a key part of its Middle East foreign goals".

According to the Amnesty International's Death Sentence and Executions 2017 report, 142 countries worldwide had obliterated death penalty in both law and in practice and 106 countries had also abolished the penalty in law for all crimes.

By the end of past year, the report says, 106 countries had abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes, while 142 countries had eliminated executions in law or in practice.

The US remained the only country in the Americas to carry out executions, with 23 last year, up slightly from the year before.

A further 59 executions were carried out for drug-related offences across the region, the report added.

"It is per se contrary to the Gospel", he continued, "because it entails the willful suppression of a human life that never ceases to be sacred in the eyes of its Creator". In 2017, all three of al-Nahiri's civilian lawyers with experience in death penalty defense were withdrawn, leaving him with just one military lawyer lacking any capital punishment experience.

"It feels as if things are not improving and we see a sort of cruelty in which the death penalty is being used with the government going back on some of its own practices".

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"Kenya has taken some progressive steps toward abolition", said Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty's lead advocate for eliminating the death penalty. Iran decreased the number of people it has killed for drug crimes by 40 percent.

The total number of executions in 2015 was reportedly the highest since 1989.

AI added that death penalties could be ended in the world if every country stands against the cruel punishment.

The US was noted for putting people on death row who have mental or intellectual disabilities, a criticism also levelled against Japan, the Maldives, Pakistan and Singapore. "The executions were carried out for murder (240); drug trafficking (205); murder and rape 4; robbery 11; "spreading corruption on earth" 2; rape (male on female rape) 16; kidnapping and murder 3;moharebeh (politically motivated) (2); and 19 were for offences that could not be confirmed", the AI reported.

On fringe of Asian country, " world's largest executor" according to this report, 84% of executions known in 2017 took place in only four countries, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan, in that order.

"Despite strides toward abolishing this abhorrent punishment, there are still a few leaders who would resort to the death penalty as a "quick-fix" rather than tackling problems at their roots with humane, effective and evidence-based policies". Those who have already been sentenced to death could still be executed under the provision. Of the 35 Member states of the Organization of American States, only the U.S. carried out executions.

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

Some legislators also chafed at the religious leaders - including a nun and a representative for the Catholic bishops - saying the death penalty was immoral.