Executions rising in Iran, Saudi Arabia (Where is the world outcry? Where are the human rights advocates? Where is “Amnesty Int’l? too busy with Gitmo???)

Associated Press

ROME: Executions jumped by a third in Iran and quadrupled in Saudi Arabia last year, causing the total number of executions around the world to rise yet again in 2007, a human rights group reported Thursday. It said China remained far in front as the world’s top executioner. The Rome-based Hands Off Cain, which campaigns to stop the death penalty, said that while countries were increasingly renouncing the death penalty, more people were put to death in 2007 than in either of the previous two years.

In all, the number of executions increased last year to at least 5,851, compared with 5,635 in 2006 and 5,494 in 2005, the group said in its annual report. The United States remained the only country in the Americas that carried out death sentences in 2007, but the country hit a 13-year low in the overall number of executions it performed putting 42 people to death, 11 less than in 2006.

The gradual trend of abolishing capital punishment continued, with 49 countries retaining the death penalty, compared with 51 in 2006 and 54 in 2005. Only 26 countries that have capital punishment on their books actually used it in 2007, down from 28 in 2006, the report said. China alone accounted for at least 5,000 executions, the rights group estimated, based on reports by the media and other human rights groups.



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