Vietnam’s authorities indicated in November that 85 executions were carried out during 2018, placing the country among the world’s top five executors. With the exception of China, 78% of all reported executions took place in only four countries – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Iraq. Botswana, Sudan, Taiwan and Thailand resumed executions last year.
Despite executing executions in 2017, Amnesty International did not report any executions in Bahrain, Bangladesh, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, (State of) Palestine and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Executions in Iran dropped from at least 507 in 2017 to at least 253 in 2018 – a 50% reduction.
At the end of 2018, 106 countries
Executions in Iraq dropped from at least 125 in 2017 to at least 52 in 2018, while in Pakistan, executions dropped from at least 60 in 2017 to at least 14 in 2018. Somalia halved its executions, falling from 24 in 2017 to 13 in 2018. Burkina Faso abolished the death penalty in its new penal code in June.
In February and July respectively, The Gambia and Malaysia declare an official moratorium on executions. In the USA, the death penalty status in Washington state was declared unconstitutional in October. At the end of 2018, 106 countries (most of the world’s states) abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes, and 142 countries (more than two-thirds) abolished the death penalty in law or in practice.
Amnesty International has recorded commutations or pardons of death penalty sentences in 29 countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Botswana, China, Egypt, Guyana, India, Iran, Kuwait, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco / Sahara western, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, South Korea, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, UAE, USA and Zimbabwe.
Eight exonerations of prisoners under sentence of death have been recorded in four countries: Egypt, Kuwait, Malawi and the USA. Amnesty International recorded at least 2,531 death sentences in 54 countries, a small reduction from the total of 2,591 reported in 2017.
At least 19,336 people were known to be under death sentence worldwide at the end of 2018. The following methods of execution were used worldwide in 2018: beheading, electrocution, hanging, lethal injection and firing. Two new death sentences by stoning have been reported to have been imposed in Iran. Reports from 2018 indicate that seven people were executed in Iran for crimes committed when they were still under 18 years of age. There were reports that at least 98 executions were conducted for drug-related offenses in 4 countries – 14% of the global total and a drop from 28% in 2017.
14% of the global total and a drop from 28% in 2017
It was known that at least 226 of these death sentences were imposed in 14 countries. Death sentences were found to have been imposed after procedures that do not meet international fair trial standards in countries including Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Vietnam.
Regional analysisAmerica For the tenth consecutive year, the US remains the only country to carry out executions in the region The number of executions (25) and death sentences (45) reported in the U.S. has increased slightly compared to 2017. The state of Texas almost doubled its number compared to 2017 (from 7 to 13), corresponding to just over half of the country’s total.
Nebraska conducted its first execution since 1997; South Dakota since 2012; and Tennessee since 2009. Only two countries, the United States and Guyana, impose death sentences – the lowest number registered since Amnesty International began its registration in 1979. The death penalty status in Washington was declared unconstitutional in October.
Asia Pacific At least 136 executions in nine countries were known to have been conducted across the region in 2018, compared with at least 93 in 2017. This increase is mainly due to a rare disclosure of figures by the Vietnam authorities and does not include the thousands of executions that Amnesty International believes have been carried out in China.
Sub-Saharan Africa Four countries
Thailand has again carried out executions for the first time since 2009. Japan more than tripled its annual number (from 4 to 15), after the hanging of 13 men involved in a high-profile case, who assisted in a fatal chemical attack with sarin gas on the Tokyo subway in 1995. Singapore reported 13 executions, the first time since 2003 that the total number of executions reached a two-digit number.
Pakistan reported a 77% drop in executions, from 60 in 2017 to at least 14 in 2018. Malaysia has announced a moratorium on executions and a revision of its death penalty laws.
- There were reports that at least 1,100 new death sentences in 17 countries were imposed, a small increase from the total of 1,037 recorded in the previous year. Europe and Central Asia At least four executions were recorded in Belarus in 2018, compared to two in 2017.
- The last time another country in the region conducted executions was in 2005. Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan continued to observe the moratorium on executions. Middle East and Northern Africa The number of executions recorded by Amnesty International in the Middle East and Northern Africa region decreased by 41%, from 847 in 2017 to 501 in 2018, the lowest number of executions recorded in the region.
Five countries – Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen – were known to have carried out executions, a 50% drop in executing countries. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq remained the largest executing countries in the region, conducting at least 454 executions recorded among them, 91% of the total number for the entire region.
Burkina Faso abolished the death penalty for common
There were 1,170 death sentences recorded in 2018, reaching an increase of 89% compared to 2017, when 619 death sentences were recorded. Egypt imposed the highest number of confirmed death sentences in the region, with at least 717 people sentenced to death compared with at least 402 in 2017. Sub-Saharan Africa Four countries – Botswana, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan – led executions in 2018.
A drop in executions recorded in Somalia led to an overall reduction in the region, from 28 in 2017 to 24 in 2018, despite the alarming increase in executions in South Sudan.
Registered death sentences dropped from at least 878 in 2017 to at least 212 in 2018. The number of countries that imposed death sentences increased to 17 from 15 registered in 2017. Burkina Faso abolished the death penalty for common crimes only, and Gambia established a moratorium on executions and ratified its commitment to an international treaty to abolish the death penalty.