Death Sentences Increase In 2013
In 2013, at least 1,925 people were sentenced to death in 57 countries globally, including Ghana.
Ghana was on record of sentencing 14 people, all men to death that year.
Mr Lawrence Amesu, Director of Amnesty International Ghana, who said this at the launch of the 2013 Global Death Penalty Report in Accra on Thursday, said the global figure for the year under review was a worrying development.
He noted that the figure indicated an increase in death sentences compared to 2012 which recorded 1,722 death sentences.
On executions, Mr Amesu said at least 22 countries were known to had carried out executions in 2013, however, it could not be confirmed if executions were carried out in countries experiencing conflict, such as Syria.
“In 2012, 21 countries were reported to have implemented death sentences. These figures represent a significant decrease over the past two decades,” he said.
Mr Amesu said while Amnesty International’s campaign against death penalty was gradually but steadily yielding positive results over the years, the death sentences and executions in the world remained startling.
“At least 778 executions were known to have been carried out worldwide, 96 more than in 2012. A small number of countries, mainly Iraq and Iran were responsible for the increase. In Iraq reported executions jumped by almost 30 per cent with at least 169 people put to death.
“In Iran there were at least 369 officially acknowledged executions, but hundreds more were not officially acknowledged. Excluding China, almost 80 per cent of all known executions worldwide were recorded in only three countries – Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia” he added.
The report named China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and USA as the top five highest executing countries in 2013 while nine countries, China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, USA, Yemen, Sudan, Bangladesh and North Korea are labelled “The Nine Worst Offenders” as they are known to execute every year since 2007 to 2013.
Mr Amesu stated that from all indications, Ghana was progressing steadily in the abolition of death penalty and called on Ghanaians to play their individual and collective roles to support that effort.
Mr Vincent Adahalie-Mensah, a Board Member, said Amnesty International was envisaging a free world where people would be free and stressed the need to continue the campaign to ensure total abolition.