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America still singing the executioner's song.

The number of executions worldwide fell from 2,148 in 2005 to 1,591 in 2006, Amnesty International revealed in its annual report on global death penalty statistics. Some 91% of all known executions took place in China, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and the U.S. AI recorded more than 1,000 executions in China, but figures on the use of the death penalty are a state secret in that country, and the true number could be as high as 8,000.

In 1977, a mere 16 countries had abolished the death penalty for all crimes. In 2006, the Philippines became the latest nation to join the 99 that have done so. In Africa, six countries carried out executions in 2006. Belarus is the lone nation that continues to use the death penalty in Europe, while the U.S. is the sole country in the Americas to have carried out executions since 2003.

"It should be a continuing source of shame that the United States remains on the list of the world's top executing countries," maintains Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA, Washington, D.C.

In 2006, New Jersey became the first state to institute a legislatively mandated moratorium on executions. Moreover, several states have placed a hold on executions because of legal challenges and concerns relating to the lethal injection process.

Concludes Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, director of AI USA's Program to Abolish the Death Penalty: 'There is a growing awareness of the racial bias, arbitrariness, and fallibility associated with the administration of the death penalty and many are seriously questioning the wisdom of retaining such a system"
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Title Annotation:YOUR LIFE; United States still on the list of countries that have high statistics on executions
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2007
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