Wednesday, April 19

putting the death penalty in perspective

Not too often do the U.S., China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran all agree on something.

But these countries agree that executing criminals (however they define that) is an important thing to do.

A new Amnesty International report finds that these countries are the leading executioners in the world.

If you look at the raw numbers, it looks like China is the main culprit, with 1,770 executions reported by Amnesty—although they say that the actual figure is probably much higher, perhaps as much as 8,000.

But when you figure in the population of each country, perhaps Saudi Arabia is the worst. I know this is grim, but here's the breakdown (in people executed per million in the population):
  • Saudi Arabia: 3.2
  • China: 1.4 - 6.1
  • Iran: 1.4
  • U.S.: 0.2
So while the U.S. is not quite as bad as these other countries—and you also have to consider what people are being executed for—it's still quite disturbing that my country is on this list at all.

Read more in this Reuters article.


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