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Map: Nations that used the death penalty last year

March 27, 2012 |  4:30 am

Execution

Most countries do not put criminals to death. Only 20 out of 198 carried out executions last year. That number has dropped by more than a third over the past decade. Many nations have abolished the death penalty and more are abolitionist in practice.

"We are determined that we will see the day when the death penalty is consigned to history," said Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International.

At least 676 people were executed across the globe last year for crimes including sorcery, sodomy and murder, according to a new annual report from the group. Executions rose steeply in the Middle East and North Africa, up almost 50% compared to the previous year.

The United States was the only Western country to carry out an execution last year, though death sentences are rarer than a decade ago. Sixteen states have now abolished capital punishment, most recently Illinois, where a lengthy campaign drew attention to errors in the criminal justice system.

Thousands more people are believed to have been executed in China, which does not release reliable numbers, Amnesty said. That dwarfs the number of executions in any other country.

The Times mapped the numbers provided by Amnesty International in its new report on the death penalty, leaving China off the map because of the uncertainty over how many executions occurred:

Amnestyexecutions
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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: The Texas death chamber is shown in 2000 after getting a new coat of paint. Credit: Pat Sullivan / Associated Press

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