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He disclosed that The Gambia has also signed an global treaty committing the country not to carry out executions and moving to abolish the death penalty. Although that number is still high, it is 4 percent less than in 2016, when the human rights organization registered 100 more. For the second year in a row, and the second time since 2006, the U.S. did not feature among the top five global executioners, with its position in the global ranking decreasing from 7th to 8th. Amnesty International capital punishment expert Oluwatosin Popoola warns there are caveats.

Amy Maguire, a senior lecturer in human right laws at Newcastle University, told SBS News countries with high execution numbers are often tied to a willingness to execute people for nonviolent crimes. Iran decreased the number of people it has killed for drug crimes by 40 percent. He says it is more hard to explain the reductions when it comes to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

"We consider this report, as totally undeserving and a joke taken too far by Amnesty International, at the expense of Nigeria's internal security and sovereignty".

Rep. Joseph Marino, the political independent on the committee and a lawyer, said he can't "get past the fact that we might execute an innocent person".

The findings also highlights a massive blind spot.

Despite remaining on the list of top five countries employing capital punishment. executions in Pakistan witnessed a decline of 31 per cent in 2017, said a report from Amnesty International.

Malaysia has amended the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to give judges discretion over the previously mandatory death penalty.

Popoola says authorities in Iraq "continue to resort to the death penalty as a tool of retribution in response to public outrage after attacks claimed by armed groups, including the group calling itself the Islamic State".

"The death penalty seduces us into believing that taking someone's life is a solution", said Rob Tasman, executive director of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops.




In 2017, of the 57 Member states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, only Belarus and the United States carried out executions.

"The progress in sub-Saharan Africa reinforced its position as a beacon of hope for abolition".

"Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of circumstances of the crime", the organisation stated in its 2017 report on death sentences.

There is now a court order in place blocking Louisiana executions indefinitely while a lawsuit over the state's protocol for lethal injections unfolds. In 2016 more than 3,100 people were put to death, in 2017 that number dropped to 2,600. Amnesty International recorded several cases of people facing the death penalty after "confessing" to crimes as a result of torture or other ill-treatment in Bahrain, China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

He added that with 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa having abolished the death penalty for all crimes, it is high time that the rest of the world followed their lead and consigns the abhorrent punishment to the history books.

Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, who is a minister, said there are "30 places in the Bible that prescribe the death penalty". Such countries, he says, "can immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty".

Morrell says not only is the death penalty not a deterrent, it's increasingly hard to execute someone.

Burkina Faso is drafting a new constitution that rights activists expect will outlaw the death penalty.


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