Have you ever been sentenced to death

Numbers, facts and background on the death penalty Amnesty Report 2015 Death Penalty

Most of the executions took place in China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States - in that order.

China remains the world's greatest executioner, but exact numbers are unknown as information on the use of the death penalty in China is considered a state secret. In addition to the 1,634 executions worldwide, there are thousands of executions in China.

Aside from China, nearly 90 percent of the executions took place in just three countries: Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

In 2015, executions were documented in 25 countries, roughly one in eight countries worldwide; in the previous year there were 22 countries. The number is still much smaller than it was twenty years ago; In 1996 executions were carried out in 39 countries.

At least 1998 death sentences in 61 countries were documented in 2015; a decrease from the previous year when at least 2,466 death sentences were documented in 55 countries.

At least 20,292 people were on death row at the end of 2015.

Global trend towards the abolition of the death penalty

Around the world, a good 70 percent of all states (140) have removed the death penalty from their criminal laws or no longer use it in practice (as of November 2016):

  • 104 states have completely abolished the death penalty.
  • 7 states only provide for the death penalty for exceptional crimes such as war crimes or offenses under military law.
  • 30 states have abolished the death penalty in practice but not in law.
  • Thus, a total of 141 states no longer apply the death penalty.
  • 57 states continue to adhere to the death penalty. However, around two thirds of the world's population live in these countries.
Execution Methods

In 2015, the following methods of execution were used:

Decapitate: Saudi Arabia

Hang: Afghanistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Sudan and South Sudan

Poison injection: China, USA and Vietnam

Shoot: China, Indonesia, Yemen, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Taiwan, Chad and the United Arab Emirates

Unfair trials, torture

In many states where people were sentenced to death or executed, the trials did not meet international fair trial standards. In some cases, 2015 judgments were based on “confessions” that could have been extracted through torture or ill-treatment - for example in Bahrain, China, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Not only for "the most serious crimes"

Many states condemn people to death and also carry out executions for offenses that are not classified as “serious crimes”. This includes deliberate criminal offenses with a fatal outcome, a threshold set by international law for the imposition of a death sentence. The death penalty for drug offenses was used in at least twelve countries in Asia and the Middle East in 2015. Other non-fatal offenses for which death sentences were imposed or carried out in 2015 included Economic crimes such as corruption (China, North Korea and Vietnam),

Adultery (Maldives, Saudi Arabia), “apostasy”, turning away from the faith (Saudi Arabia), kidnapping (Iraq), insulting the prophet of Islam (Iran) and various “crimes against the state” (China, North Korea, etc.).