World

US Ranks 5th Globally In Executions

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Casey Harper Contributor
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A new report from Amnesty International found that the U.S. ranks fifth in the world for number of executions.

The report released Wednesday says of the known 1,634 executions in 2015, 90 percent occurred in Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. China has the most executions, but it’s unclear how many there were since the country doesn’t release the data.

The countries with the highest number of executions, in order, are:

1. China

2. Iran

3. Pakistan

4. Saudi Arabia

5. United States

While the U.S. has a higher number of executions, some countries with lower numbers execute for far less severe crimes.

“These offences included drug-related crimes in at least 12 countries in Asia and the Middle East, as well as committing ‘adultery’ (Maldives, Saudi Arabia), economic crimes (China, North Korea, Viet Nam), ‘apostasy’ (Saudi Arabia) and ‘insulting the prophet of Islam’ (Iran),” Amnesty International said in a statement.

The majority of countries don’t use the death penalty. About 10 percent of countries are known to have carried out executions last year. The Republic of Congo, Fiji, Madagascar, and Suriname abolished the death penalty, and Mongolia passed a new law that will abolish it in 2016. Executions declined in the U.S. but have increased globally.

In the U.S., the death penalty is a political topic fought out at the state level, often blurring party lines. In March, a death penalty repeal bill in Utah got some momentum but ultimately failed to pass before the legislative deadline. Republican Utah Sen. Steve Urquhart said he hopes to bring the issue back up in the future.

Nebraska’s state legislature repealed the death penalty and even garnered enough votes to overturn the governor’s veto in May of last year. After the passage of the law, enough Nebraskans signed a referendum petition that the issue will finally be decided in a ballot vote in November.

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