About fifty states continue to apply the death penalty in the world, like Saudi Arabia which executed in a single day on Saturday 81 people sentenced to death.
• Read also: Saudi Arabia executes 81 people in one day, a record
Decapitation, electrocution, hanging, firing squad or even lethal injection: the methods planned are numerous, according to the NGO Amnesty International, whose latest report relates to the year 2020.
Majority of abolitionists
More than 100 countries have abolished the death penalty by law, for all crimes, according to Amnesty International. And they are 147 to have abolished the death penalty in law or de facto, that is to say nearly three quarters of the States in the world.
The latest countries to have ended the application of capital punishment are Kazakhstan, Malawi followed in October 2021 by Sierra Leone.
Still in 2021, Virginia became the 23rd abolitionist American state, a decision all the more symbolic since this territory holds the record for executions in American history and no state in the former Confederate South had yet taken this step. Three other states (California, Oregon, Pennsylvania) observe a moratorium.
More than 30 countries in Africa still maintain the death penalty in their legislation, but just under half have carried out executions in recent years.
In 2020, executions in 18 countries
At least 483 people were executed in 2020 in 18 countries according to the Amnesty report, a 26% drop compared to 2019 (657 executions), which is in line with the decline observed year after year since 2015.
This figure, the lowest recorded for more than a decade, does not however include the thousands of executions which probably took place, according to Amnesty, in China, where this data is classified as a state secret, but also in North Korea and Vietnam.
In 2020, four countries accounted for 88% of all recorded executions: Iran (246), Egypt (107), Iraq (45) and Saudi Arabia (27), down 85%.
But Saudi Arabia then carried out 69 executions in 2021, according to an AFP count based on official statements. And since the beginning of 2022, 11 people had already been executed there, according to an AFP count, before the 81 executions on Saturday.
After a hiatus of several years, India, Oman and Qatar have resumed executions. In sub-Saharan Africa, executions fell from 25 in 2019 to 16 in 2020. By contrast, in Egypt, executions more than tripled to reach a total that had never been so high since the peak recorded in 2013 (109 executions).
In 2021, the United States carried out 11 executions, the lowest figure in decades, according to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC).
In 2020, at least 1,477 death sentences were recorded in 54 countries, against at least 2,307 in 56 countries the previous year according to the NGO. A drop due in part to the Covid-19 pandemic which has caused disruptions and delays in the functioning of judicial systems around the world.