2,390


That’s the number of people who were executed by their state in 2008. According to a new Amnesty International report Death Sentences and Executions in 2008 China lead the world in executions, killing 1,718 people. That accounts for about a 72% share in total world-wide executions. Iran and Saudi Arabia also place high on the list, killing at least 346 people and 102 people respectively, in part through stoning and beheading.

The United States put to death 37 people in 2008–though just yesterday New Mexico governor (and former UN Ambassador) Bill Richardson signed a bill outlawing the death penalty in his state. Meanwhile, Belarus is the only country with an active death penalty in Europe, having executed four people last year.

There is, however, some good news to report. Of the 59 countries around the world that still have the death penalty on the books, only 25 used it. This, says, Amnesty’s Irene Khan shows the trend is toward abolition.

Photo from Flickr.

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