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Amnesty International asks PM to abolish death penalty

Amnesty International asks PM to abolish death penalty
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Days after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the mercy petitions of 12 death convicts, Amnesty International (AI), released its global annual report...

Days after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the mercy petitions of 12 death convicts, Amnesty International (AI), released its global annual report on death penalty and urged PM Manmohan Singh to abolish the death penalty in India. Last week the Supreme Court stayed the execution of seven convicts whose mercy petitions had been rejected by the President. The human rights group has urged the Prime Minister to "take immediate steps to commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment and abolish the death penalty in India." After carrying out its last execution in 2004, the Indian government returned to implementing the capital punishment when it hanged 2008 Mumbai terror attack convict Mohammed Ajmal Kasab in November 2012. It followed it up with the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in February this year. The other 3 countries which resumed to a 'disappointing regression' are Japan, Pakistan and Gambia, said the London-based group. In all 682 executions were carried out world over last year, two more than in 2011. Iraq nearly doubled the number of executions in 2012 as compared to a year earlier, which AI said was an 'alarming escalation', up from 68 to at least 129. However, the numbers world-over, do not include the executions carried out in China, which maintains secrecy over about its use of death penalty, making calculation impossible. The same applies to Syria, where documentation becomes impossible owing to the civil war. Since 2009, the AI group has declined to release estimates of China because of the fact that official figures were not made available. The group also pointed out the US was the only country in the region to continue carrying out executions but the number had remained at 43, the same as in 2011. The methods of execution carried out by states over the last year included hanging, beheading, firing squad and lethal injection, while in Saudi Arabia, the body of one man executed through beheading was displayed in public, the group said in a statement. The crimes people faced the death penalty for included economic offences, apostasy, blasphemy and adultery, the group said. Amnesty said only 21 countries were recorded as having carried out executions in 2012, the same as in 2011, but down from 28 countries a decade earlier. More than 140 countries are said to have abandoned capital punishment. "Only one in 10 countries in the world carries out executions. Their leaders should ask themselves why they are still applying a cruel and inhumane punishment that the rest of the world is leaving behind," said Salil Shetty, secretary-general of the organisation, in the statement.
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