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5,400 Executions Worldwide in 2004

5,400 Executions Worldwide in 2004

Agence France-Press

There were more than 5,400 executions were carried out in the world in 2004, slightly down on the previous year, with almost 90% of them in China, an organisation that campaigns for the abolition of the death penalty said in a report which was released on Friday.

Of the 5,476 executions that took place in 2004, at least 5,000 were in China, the organisation Hands Off Cain said."But the number of reported executions in China, the top executioner worldwide, was always thought to be much lower than reality," the report said. In 2003, there were a total of 5,607 executions worldwide.

Iran was in second place with 197 executions, up from 154 in 2003, followed by Vietnam with 82.

It said the death penalty was carried on 59 people in the United States, compared to 65 in 2003 and 71 in 2002. "Of the 38 states (out of 50) that practice the death penalty in the US, 11 carried out executions - the lowest number since 1993. As has been the case since the reintroduction of the death penalty in 1976, the majority of executions took place in southern states, 80% of the total in 2003,"the report said.

Hands Off Cain also noted that a worldwide trend towards abolition in the last 10 years was confirmed in 2003.

"Throughout the year and the first five months of 2004, five retentionist states became abolitionist to different extents. Benin, Ghana, Malawi and Morocco, passed the ten-year mark from the last execution to become de facto abolitionists,"it said.

Hands Off Cain, which was founded in 1993, describes itself as "a league of citizens and parliamentarians for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide".