An alarming number of countries resorted to the death penalty in a flawed attempt to stop crime and terrorism in 2014.China, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan, all executed people accused of “terrorism”.
Death sentences jumped by more than 500 in 2014 compared with the previous year, largely because Egypt and Nigeria handed out hundreds of death sentences, some in mass trials. At least 2,466 people were sentenced to death worldwide – up 28% on 2013.
Even as death sentences rose, the number of executions in 2014 fell by nearly 22% to at least 607. This excludes China, where figures on the death penalty are a state secret. Apart from China, which executes more people than the rest of the world combined, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the USA made up the world’s top five executioners.
Just 22 countries carried out executions in 2014, compared to 41 a decade ago. One more country – Madagascar – moved to abolish the death penalty, confirming that the world continues its steadfast march away from the death penalty.