The death penalty in Asia in 2009

As in previous years, more people were executed in Asia than in the rest of the world combined. The vast majority of executions were carried out in China, although at least 26 executions were known to have been carried out in seven other countries in the Asia-Pacific region: Bangladesh (3), Japan (7), North Korea (+), Malaysia (+), Singapore (1), Thailand (2) and Viet Nam (at least 9).

At least 819 death sentences were known to have been imposed: Afghanistan (at least 133), Bangladesh (at least 64), China (+), India (at least 50), Indonesia (1), Japan (34), North Korea (+), South Korea (at least 5), Malaysia (at least 68), Myanmar (at least 2), Pakistan (276), Singapore (at least 6), Sri Lanka (108), Taiwan (7), Thailand (+) and Viet Nam (at least 59).

China again refused to divulge figures on its use of the death penalty. Although media coverage is permitted in selected cases, information on the number of executions is classified as a state secret and individuals disclosing state secrets can be held criminally responsible.

Amnesty International therefore does not know the exact number of executions carried out in 2009. However, evidence from previous years and current sources indicates that the figure is in the thousands.

For the first time in recent years, no executions were known to be carried out in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Mongolia and Pakistan.

Thailand carried out its first executions since 2003. In August, Bundit Jaroenwanit and Jirawat Poompreuk were executed by lethal injection. They had both been sentenced to death for drug offences in 2001. According to press reports, the men were given just one hour’s notice that they were about to be executed. No further executions took place during the year.


Death sentences and executions 2009

Where "+" is indicated after a country and is not preceded by a number, it indicates that there were executions or death sentences (at least more than one) in that country but it was not possible to calculate a figure.