China is leading on the list of countries with the most death penalties carried out by a government.
According to an Amnesty International 2021 report, China, with a population of more than one billion people, recorded more than 1,000 state-executed death penalties for 2021. China was distantly followed by Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, who recorded a little above 314, 83, 65, and 24 respectively.
Other countries making up the top ten list include Somalia, Iraq, Yemen, the United States of America, and South Sudan with a little above 21, 17, 14, 11, and 9 respectively.
Statista reported that as of 2020, the death penalty was still implemented in 33 African countries. However, no executions had been carried out for at least 10 years in 23 of these states or territories.
As of 2020, the death penalty was regularly implemented in Nigeria, Botswana, Somalia, Uganda, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Egypt, and Libya. Only in specific and unavoidable cases such as murder, and this comes after all avenues of appeal have been exhausted.
Amnesty International agreed that the number of executed deaths may be higher than the official figure reported as some executions are not reported by the state actors.
“Illuminating as its data may be, Amnesty International emphatically cautions that many of the report’s numbers are best-guess minimum estimates, and that the true numbers of executions, death sentences, and “death row” prisoners are actually much higher. This is due to the fact that several countries refuse to disclose detailed execution-related data, which makes it impossible to determine a precise count of executions and death sentences. Statista said, reflecting on its assessment of the Amnesty International 2021 report.
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However, the human rights organisation made reference to China, which takes the execution of state prisoners as top secret, agreeing that the number may be much higher than presented. “For example, China is known to execute thousands of people every year, making it the world’s most prolific executor by a vast margin.”
“However, specific information about these executions is considered a state secret and is not released to the public. As such, while it is known that China likely puts more people to death than the rest of the world combined, even experts can only speculate as to the full scope of China’s use of capital punishment.
“Moreover, while China may be the most obvious example of data secrecy, it is far from alone. Many other countries withhold or at least filter data on capital punishment, including North Korea, Vietnam, Syria, and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan (since August 2021).” These reports show a lack of sincerity on the part of most countries when it comes to presenting data on the state of state execution of prisoners.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International agreed that the death penalty as a tool to correct societal ills has declined globally.
To corroborate its claim, Amnesty International’s 2021 year-end report stated that 579 executions were recorded worldwide, spread across 18 countries. While this total is 20 percent higher than the number of executions in 2020, it is worth noting that 2020’s executions were slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic and were the lowest since at least 2010.
“Overall, the worldwide use of capital punishment has trended sharply downward since its peak of approximately 1,600 known executions in 2015,” it concluded.