Death Sentences and Executions in 2017


By Amnesty International, on 12 April 2018

Global figures

Amnesty International’s research points to a further decrease in the global use of the death penalty in 2017, down from the high peaks recorded for total executions in 2015 and death sentences in 2016. The number of countries carrying out executions and imposing death sentences remained in line with figures recorded in recent years. Two countries abolished the death penalty for all crimes and a third country became abolitionist for ordinary crimes such as murder. Several other countries took steps to restrict the use of this punishment. At the end of 2017, 106 countries had abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes and 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

These figures reaffirm, once again, the global trend towards abolition of the death penalty. Only an isolated minority of countries continue to resort to executions. Just four countries were responsible for 84% of all recorded executions in 2017.

Africa, future abolitionist continent

This positive trend was exemplified by the sub-Saharan Africa region, where Amnesty International recorded a drop in the number of executing countries, from five in 2016 to two in 2017, and saw a significant decrease in the number of death sentences imposed. Additionally, Guinea abolished the death penalty for all crimes and Kenya abolished the mandatory death penalty for murder. The number of abolitionist countries in the region now stands at 20, from just one in 1981 when the first country abolished this punishment.

Trend toward abolition of the mandatory death penalty for drug offences

Amnesty International recorded a noticeable decrease in the overall number of executions carried out for drug -related offences. Additionally, Iran and Malaysia – two staunch supporters of the use of the death penalty for drug – related offences – adopted legislative amendments that could reduce the use of the mandatory death penalty for these offences.
These important developments confirmed that the world has passed a tipping point and that the abolition of the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is within reach.

Attached documents


Death Sentences and Executions in 2017

By Amnesty International, on 1 January 2018


NGO report

More details See the document

Amnesty International published its international global review of the death penalty on Tuesday, 12th April 2018.At least 993 executions in 23 countries in 2017 were recorded, down by 4% from 2016 (1,032 executions) and 39% from 2015 (when the organization reported 1,634 executions, the highest number since 1989). China remained the world’s top executioner, but excluding China, 84% of all reported executions took place in just four countries – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.

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