By Arul Louis,
United Nations : The Indian courts gave 109 death sentences last year, but the country did not execute anyone, according to Amnesty International.
The number of death sentences imposed last year were 27 fewer than the 136 in 2016, the human rights organisation said in its report, “Death Sentences and Executions 2017”, released here on Thursday.
Last year, 51 death penalties were imposed for murder alone, down from 87 in 2016, the London-based organisation said quoting the National Law University’s Centre on Death Penalty.
For murder charges involving sex offences, 43 death sentences were handed out. Two death sentences were imposed for drug-related offences.
The report said it also “monitors daily developments on the use of death penalty” and that the number of death sentences it collected were lower than that of the National Law University.
Overall, there were 371 people on death row in India.
The report said that it had recorded commutations of death penalty or pardons in India, but it did not give a number.
The last time India had carried out an execution was in 2015 when Yakub Memon was hanged after being found guilty in the 1993 Mumbai terrorist bombings that killed 257 people.
Amnesty International Senior Director for Law and Policy Tawanda Mutasah told reporters that China remained the world’s top executioner in 2018 with death penalties running into thousands.
The exact number of China’s executions was not known because it is considered a state secret, he said.
Iran came next with at least 507 executions and it was followed by Saudi Arabia with 146, Iraq with more than 125, and Pakistan with more than 60.
In the America’s, only the US carried out the death penalty, executing 23 people last year.
“The death penalty continued in the USA to be used in ways that contravened international law and standards, including on people with serious mental disabilities and foreign nationals denied their right to consular assistance after arrest,” the report said.
Only Belaraus carried out death sentences in Europe, executing two persons in 2017.
Globally, Mutasah said that there were 4 per cent fewer executions last year and there was a 14 per cent drop in death penalties imposed.
(Arul Louis can be reached at email@example.com)