According to a recent Amnesty International annual survey report, ninety-five countries have abolished the death penalty. Nine countries throughout the world have abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes but use it for wartime crimes such as treason. In 2009, only eighteen countries executed people. However, China was high on the list of the most death penalty cases but refused to release official figures. Seventeen other countries saw 714 people executed for their crimes.
Thirty-five countries have stopped using the death penalty in the last ten years. The death penalty has been abolished in Burundi and Togo, Africa. In 2009 there were no executions in Europe except for Belarus which still has the death penalty. There one person was executed in the first months of 2010. In North and South America, the United States was the only country to use the death penalty. The U.S. executed 52 people in 2009. Of that 24 were in Texas.
Other countries that do use the death penalty include Iran with 388 by hanging or stoning, Iraq with 120 by hanging, Saudi Arabia with 69 by beheading or crucifixion, and the United States with 52 by lethal injection or electrocution. The U.S. is virtually alone among recognized democracies to use the death penalty.
Saudi Arabia is planning to execute a Lebanese citizen for the crime of sorcery. In China, people are being executed if they are convicted of economic crimes like theft of state property and corruption. Iran saw a big spike in executions between the June 12 elections and the August inauguration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Some 100 people were executed in that eight week period. It seems that both Iran and China are using the death penalty for political purposes and not for punishment fitting the crime.
Amnesty International sees the death penalty for crimes dwindling. For instance, in Asia the death penalty is decreasing. India occasionally executes people but it did not carry any executions out in 2009. Thailand does occasionally execute people and Japan rarely. In sub-Saharan Africa only Botswana and Sudan carried out judicial executions in 2009. Kenya commuted the death sentences of 4,000 prisoners who were on death row. That was the largest commutation of death sentences ever known
Of course Amnesty International would like to see the end of the death penalty for non-violent crimes as well as political opposition in a country. In addition, they say if a country is going to use the death penalty they would like to see rigorous safeguards in place to minimize the chances that innocent people are executed as well as any juveniles under the age of 18.