Executions and death sentences during 2012
Get the full facts and figures in our 2012 report on death sentences and executions
Despite some disappointing setbacks, the global trend towards ending the death penalty continued in 2012, with the same number of countries (21) carrying out executions as in 2011 - significantly down from levels a decade ago. However, the number of executions carried out by state authorities rose from 680 executions in 2011, to 682 in 2012.
Latvia became the 97th country to remove the death penalty for all crimes and our figures show that around 140 countries are now abolitionist in law or practice.
However, we are very concerned by those countries bucking this trend and by the resumption of executions in India, Japan, Gambia and Pakistan - all countries that had not used the death penalty for some time.
The top five executing countries were China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and USA, with the USA once again being the only country in the Americas to carry out the brutal punishment.
In the Middle East and North Africa, 99% of all executions were carried out by just four states - Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Yemen. Iraq in particular showed an alarming escalation, with the number up to at least 129, 34 of which were carried out on the same day.
Japan resumes executions, putting 77 year-old Hakamada at immediate risk of execution
Hakamada Iwao is the world's longest-serving known death row inmate. Like many on Japan's death row, his confinement and treatment have resulted in severe mental health problems. Every day for the past 45 years, Hakamada has woken up not knowing whether this is the day that he will be hanged. With our latest report into global death penalty figures showing Japan is bucking the trend towards abolition by resuming executions in 2012, the campaign for justice has become even more urgent. Demand justice for Hakamada
'The stories of these cases are very painful'
In this animation from Amnesty and The Guardian, Iranian lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei tells of one particular case that stayed with him.
Behnoud Shojaee was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 2006, for a crime he committed when he was 17. Watch his story in the film above.
Iran continues to sentence juvenile offenders to death, and execute for crimes that were committed when the offender was under 18 - a practice strictly prohibited under international law. At least three juvenile offenders were executed in Iran last year. Over the last three years (2008-11), we have counted 145 juvenile offenders to be condemned to Iran's death row.
On 18 January 2013, Mehr, Ali (Kianoush) Naderi was executed for a crime allegedly committed when he was 17.
Reggie Clemons: half a lifetime on Missouri's death row
Trainee mechanic Reggie Clemons was 19 when he was arrested and interrogated over the murder of two young women who had died on the Chain of Rocks Bridge, on the Missouri/Mississippi border. Two years later he was sentenced to death as an accomplice to their murder.
Reggie is now 42. He's spent half of his life on death row. On 17 September 2012, his case will be heard once again before a 'special master' judge in the Missouri courts.
This short video from the Guardian is one in a series of four clips looking at different aspects of Reggie's case. Watch the rest on youtube.
- Two Birmingham school pupils make new film on world's longest-serving death row prisoner 10 May 2013
More death penalty news
|Blog: The Death Warrant September 2012|
One year after the execution warrant for Troy Davis was signed, US Campaigner Laura Moye reflects on the final campaign for clemency for Troy, and Troy's legacy a year down the line. Read blog post on Amnesty USA site
In a year when the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia took on international significance, but Idaho chose to resume capital punishment; when the pro-capital punishment lobby in Britain stepped up, and Iran carried out hundreds of executions for drugs offences, 2011 was a year of ups and downs in our campaign to abolish the death penalty worldwide. Read our Storify
Mongolia takes steps to abolish death penalty Jan 2012
New strict controls on torture and execution equipment export from Europe Dec 2011
Idaho resumes executions after 17 years Nov 2011
Troy Davis executed but the fight goes on Sep 2011