Death penalties spread as elite nations return to capital punishment

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Executions increased last year, resumed in several countries, and were used for lighter offences, according to Amnesty International’s ‘Death Penalty in 2012’ report.

The global total of 682 confirmed executions was two higher than 2011, although Amnesty acknowledged the actual number was far higher. In a “worrying setback”, G20 nations Japan and India carried out their first executions since 2010 and 2004 respectively, and Pakistan it’s first since 2008. China executed most people, with thousands of known instances, but these are a state secret.

The highest recorded total was 314 in Iran, with the actual figure closer to 600. Public executions and televised confessions rose sharply in 2012 under President Mahmoud Ahmedinijad, and the number of death sentences for homosexuality and irreligious behavior increased. ”Iran has got away from us and its painful to watch”, Amnesty expert Drewery Dike told Metro. ”Human rights in general have been ground into the dust. ”

The US remains in the top five, executing 43 people in 2012 – the same as 2011. Connecticut became the 17th state to abolish the death penalty, with two more close to a moratorium. Texas conducted the most with 15 but campaigners cite progress there too: “death sentences are dropping to historically low levels, as there has been greater discussion about the exorbitant cost and the alternative of life in prison without parole”, said Kristin Houle of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Amnesty also expressed concern at a rise in cruel methods of execution. “Some methods such as crucifixion in Saudi Arabia are horrific and disturbing, although we are keen to avoid saying any method is ‘better’“, said Audrey Gaughan, Director of Global Issues.




News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…

National

The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.

Local

Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…

National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Movies

List: David Bowie — Great (cracked) actor

With the documentary "David Bowie Is" hitting theaters, we round up his work as a terrific screen actor, in films like "The Prestige" and "The Hunger."

The Word

The Word: Emma Watson, feminist icon

Ladies and gentlemen, Emma Watson is your new feminist icon. The "Harry Potter" star and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador gave an impassioned speech at the United…

Television

'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.

Gossip

New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

NFL

Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.

NFL

3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.

Career

Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…

Education

Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…

Parenting

How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.