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U.S. Near Top Of List Of Countries That Carried Out The Most Death Penalties Last Year

The countries that carried out the most death penalties in 2013: the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and China, according to a report by Amnesty International.

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In an annual report released Thursday, Amnesty International found a 15% increase in the number of death penalty sentences carried out in 2013 from the year before.

It found that at least 778 people were reported executed in 21 countries — not including China, because China does not disclose such figures.

The report found an increase in executions in Iran and Iraq, who along with Saudi Arabia accounted for almost 80% of all reported death penalty sentences. Some of the report's findings are based on limited information: numbers for Egypt, Syria, and Oman were unavailable, while Amnesty estimated that for countries like China and North Korea, where transparent facts are near-impossible to access, the findings are likely significantly higher.

The report found that in some countries the death penalty was applied for a range of non-lethal crimes, including drug-related offense and robbery, as well as acts like "adultery" and "bribery."

In 2013, Indonesia, Kuwait, Nigeria and Vietnam resumed their use of capital punishment. By the year's end, 98 countries worldwide had also officially abolished the death penalty (up from 85 in 2004.)

Here's a look at the 22 countries still executing in the name of justice.


China: Exact number of executions unknown

Mike Clarke/AFP

Amnesty International estimates that thousands were executed in China in 2013 — but China keeps the exact number silent. The report did not include China when calculating the total number of executions in 2013.


North Korea: Exact number of executions unknown

Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

Amnesty can confirm that there were death sentences issued and executions carried out in North Korea, but they cannot verify the exact number; however, the number is expected to be high.

Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor

Contact Miriam Berger at

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