Fewer Nations Executing More Convicts

«Touch Not Cain» Group Releases Its 2002 Report

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ROME, JULY 4, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Fewer countries are using the death penalty, though executions worldwide have increased, a new report says.

The 2002 Report on Capital Punishment presented by the Touch Not Cain association says there were at least 4,700 executions in 2001, of which 3,500 were carried out in China. Next on the list are Iran, Iraq and Kenya, in terms of number of executions.

Touch Not Cain said 98% of executions take place in totalitarian or authoritarian countries. The methods include stoning, hanging, decapitation and shooting.

The United States is 10th on the list, with 66 executions. Together with Thailand, Taiwan, Japan and Botswana, it is one of five «liberal» democracies that carry out executions.

Elisabetta Zamparutti, who prepared the report, told Vatican Radio: «The drama of the news on executions has made us take a step forward compared to what we were doing before; namely, to conceive the battle for the abolition of the death penalty as a struggle for democracy and the state of law.»

«There is an irreversible tendency toward abolition in the realm of the international community,» Zamparutti continued.

«Only a minority, just 69 countries, still contemplate it, and even fewer, 34, carry out executions,» she said. «The problem is that at least 4,700 executions have been verified in these 34 countries — many more than in the year 2000, when they were close to 1,890.»

She said the statistics were estimates, given that some countries are unwilling to give official data on the executions.

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