Noticiário - Seleção Diária de Notícias Internacionais - 30/03/2010
França - International Herald Tribune
Título: China Leads World in Executions, Amnesty Says
By MARK McDONALD
HONG KONG — China executed more people last year than the rest of the world combined, according to a report published Tuesday by Amnesty International, as the rights group called on Beijing to divulge how many executions it carries out.
Amnesty International said there were “thousands” of Chinese executions in 2009 — the precise number is considered a state secret — and the rights group gave no minimum estimates for executions in China or worldwide.
The report said at least 714 people were executed in 17 other countries, led by Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United States. Methods of execution included beheading, stoning, electrocution, hanging, firing squads and lethal injection.
Amnesty International said in its report last year that China had executed at least 1,718 people in 2008, nearly three-fourths of the 2,390 executions worldwide that year.
“The Chinese authorities claim that fewer executions are taking place,” said Claudio Cordone, Amnesty International’s interim secretary general. “If this is true, why won’t they tell the world how many people the state put to death?”
Although admittedly incomplete, the figures from Amnesty International are widely accepted as authoritative. The American State Department, for example, has cited the group’s findings in its reports on human rights.
Iran put at least 388 people to death last year, according to the latest Amnesty report, with about a third of the executions coming in the seven weeks of protest and turmoil that followed the country’s disputed presidential election in June.
In Europe in 2009, for the first time since Amnesty International began keeping records, there were no executions. Belarus is the only European nation with the death penalty still on its books; the former Soviet republic reportedly executed two men two weeks ago.
The Constitutional Court in Russia also renewed a moratorium on death sentences in November and the Amnesty International report cited the court ruling that said the “path towards full abolition of the death penalty is irreversible.”
The United States was the only country in the Americas to execute anyone in 2009, according to the report, which said the 52 executions were the highest total in three years. Nearly half the executions, 24, came in Texas, while New Mexico officially banned the death penalty.
Amnesty International, which has long opposed the death penalty, said death sentences and executions continued to be used for political purposes, often after unfair trials, and were used “disproportionately against the poor, minorities and members of racial, ethnic and religious communities.”
The report said at least 2,001 people were sentenced to death in 56 countries in 2009.
“The death penalty is cruel and degrading, and an affront to human dignity,” said Mr. Cordone.
In addition to China, seven other Asian countries were said to have carried out a total of 26 executions last year — Bangladesh, Japan, North Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Indonesia had no executions.
Two executions in Thailand were its first since 2003, the report said, as two men found guilty of drug crimes were executed by lethal injection.
Botswana and Sudan were the only countries in sub-Saharan Africa to execute criminals in 2009, while Kenya carried out what Amnesty called “the largest mass commutation of death sentences ever known.” More than 4,000 condemned prisoners in Kenya had their sentences reduced to imprisonment.
Burundi and Togo abolished the death penalty in 2009, Amnesty International said, joining 95 countries that have banned capital punishment.