Although the global trend towards abolition remained strong, 2012 saw a disappointing resumption of executions in some countries including India, the latest Amnesty International report on death penalty and capital sentencing around the world in 2012 has revealed. The total number of confirmed executions was 682, two more than in 2011 with India accounting for one of them - the hanging of Mumbai 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab. The data from China was not available.
Ajmal Kasab's hanging was India's first execution since 2004. Gambia, Pakistan, Japan also executed people on the death row after a long time..
However, thee number of fresh death sentences being ordered came down in India to 78 in 2012 from 110 in 2011.
Executions were recorded in 21 countries, the same number as 2011. The number of countries where death sentences were imposed fell from 63 to 58. Twenty-one countries carried out executions in 2011, compared to 28 a decade ago. Once again, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the USA were the five biggest executioners in the world, the data from China not being available.
But 2012 also saw some positive developments. A number of countries which had consistently executed in previous years, such as Vietnam, did not carry out any death sentences in 2012.
In July, Singapore suspended all executions until new legislation to reduce the use of mandatory death sentences for mostly drug-related crimes could be implemented.
Benin and Mongolia both ratified, and Madagascar signed, a key UN treaty aimed at abolishing the death penalty.
In the USA, only nine states carried out executions, compared to 13 states in 2011.
The number of countries where death sentences were imposed fell from 63 to 58.
Latvia became the 97th country worldwide to abolish the death penalty for all crimes. A total of 140 countries worldwide have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice.
The United States ironically executed the highest number of juvenile convicts among all countries, their age being factored in at the time of committing their crimes.
Methods of executions in 2012 around the world included hanging, beheading, firing squad and lethal injection. Public executions reprtedly took place in Saudi Arabia, Somalia and North Korea.