The big increase in executions was linked to China, which launched a “strike hard” campaign against crime, the report of the human rights organization revealed. The report was published Tuesday.
In China, incomplete records indicated that at least 2,468 people were executed last year (80% of the known total), but the true figure was believed to be much higher.
From April to July 2001 alone, at least 1,781 people were executed in that country — more than the total number of people executed in the rest of the world in the previous three years. Condemned prisoners were often shackled and humiliated by being paraded in public, Amnesty International added.
The group recorded 139 executions in Iran, but the true number was believed to be much higher. In Saudi Arabia, 79 executions were reported. Sixty-six people were executed in the United States, down from 85 in 2000.
“Yet there has also been progress towards abolition,” the report states. “By the end of the year, 111 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice, three more than at the end of the previous year.”
During 2001, Chile abolished the death penalty for peacetime offences. Turkey adopted a constitutional amendment reducing the scope of the death penalty. And Amnesty International welcomed the decision by the president of Pakistan last December to commute the death sentences of about 100 child offenders.
Additionally, during 2001 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ratified the second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights — a treaty providing for the total abolition of the death penalty — bringing to 46 the number of state parties to the pact. Amnesty International also recorded over 5,265 people who were sentenced to death in 68 countries during 2001.