The Death Penalty in 2011

An overwhelming majority of countries did not use the death penalty in 2011. Only 21 out of 198 countries carried out executions – a drop of more than a third over the last decade.

Death sentences were pardoned or commuted in 33 countries, compared to just 19 in 2010.

Nevertheless, an increasingly isolated group of countries executed at an alarming rate in 2011. China continued to put thousands of people to death, and in the Middle East there was a sharp rise in the number of people executed in Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. States that year-on-year figured consistently among the top executioners also included North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, USA and Yemen.

Even in those countries that continued to use the death penalty, progress was made in 2011. In the USA, Illinois became the 16th state to abolish the death penalty. China removed the death penalty for 13 crimes, while adding at least two new capital crimes. Decreases in the use of the death penalty were recorded in Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority and Tunisia.

At least 18,750 people remained under sentence of death at the end of the year and at least 680 people were executed worldwide in 2011, excluding China.
Read the report

See also:
Top 5 executioners in 2011
Support for death penalty wanes
Victims and survivors of crime
Why are they hiding?
‘Don’t let those who kill turn us into murderers’
Japan: 40 years on death row