Worldwide executions highest in 25 years
According to Amnesty International, a London-based human rights group, executions in the world are at the highest level since 1989. At least 1,634 people were executed by various countries in 2015, which is 54% higher than 2014 when 1,061 people were executed. Almost 90% of the executions happened in Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia which have repeatedly ignored appeals to abandon capital punishment.
Amnesty International: A profile
Amnesty International is a non-profit organisation comprising 7 million people fighting for protection and promotion of human rights in the world. The London-headquartered organisation was founded in 1961 by Peter Benenson. Amnesty had won the Noble Peace Prize in 1977 for protecting rights of prisoners of conscience. It publishes 'Death Sentences and Execution' report every year detailing the number of executions in the world.
Iran tops the execution list followed by Pakistan
While Iran executed 977 persons, the highest in the world, Pakistan, which had lifted a 6-year moratorium on the death sentence in 2014 was second with 326 executions. Saudi Arabia with 158 deaths and the US with 28 deaths were 3rd and 4th respectively.
Executions happening even for non-heinous crimes
According to Amnesty, many capital punishments in Iran and Saudi Arabia were for "non-lethal crimes". While drug-trafficking was the main reason for executions in Iran, many countries offered death sentence for adultery, blasphemy, corruption, kidnapping and even "questioning the leader's policies". Amnesty, however, did not include data from China which may have killed thousands as China treats execution "as a state secret".
Methods of execution
In all, people were executed in 25 countries in the world and various methods were used for this purpose - beheading, hanging, lethal injection and shooting.
The case of India
India executed 1 person in 2015. Yakub Memon, who was convicted in 1993 Mumbai Bomb Blast case, was the third person to be executed since 2012. However, 75 persons were sentenced to death by the courts in 2015. In India, 320 persons are under the death sentence. The Law commission in Aug'15 had recommended abolition of death penalty in India except in terror-related cases.
The silver line
For the first time, more than half of the world's countries have abolished death penalties. With the addition of Fiji, Madagascar, Republic of Congo and Suriname, 102 of the 195 countries have outlawed death sentence. Mongolia will abolish it in 2016.