Countries that carried out executions in 2011 did so at an alarming rate but those employing capital punishment have decreased by more than a third compared to a decade ago. Only 10 percent of countries in the world, 20 out of 198, carried out executions last year.
People were executed or sentenced to death for a range of offences including adultery and sodomy in Iran, blasphemy in Pakistan, sorcery in Saudi Arabia, the trafficking of human bones in the Republic of Congo, and drug offences in more than 10 countries. Methods of execution in 2011 included beheading, hanging, lethal injection and shooting.
Some 18,750 people remained under sentence of death at the end of 2011 and at least 676 people were executed worldwide.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The death penalty violates the right to life and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.