On average, only one out of 10 countries in the past year has applied the death penalty, according to annual report of Amnesty International on the use of capital punishment.
According to the human rights organization, the trend of moving away from the death penalty exists in the world, but the statistics is seriously affected by Asia and the Middle East.
In 2012, like 2011, only 21 countries carried out capital punishments; 140 countries, more than two-thirds of the world completely abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium.
The largest number of people were executed last year in China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United States and Yemen.
Employees of Amnesty International found documented 682 executions in 2012, an increase of two cases more than a year earlier.
However, these statistics do not take into account China, which holds the secret data on the use of capital punishment, and Syria, where civil war prevented the collection of information.
It is assumed that China commits several thousands of executions per year, higher than the statistics of all other countries combined.
Iran ranks second in the world in the application of capital punishment: 314 official cases, though, according to some reports, some executions kept secret.
The total number, according to Amnesty International, can not exceed 500. Most executions in Iran have been convicted of drug trafficking, consumption of alcohol, adultery and homosexuality.
The country has a common practice of public executions by hanging and sentencing of juveniles, which violates international agreements.
The UN Special Rapporteur, who was assigned to investigate the human rights situation in Iran, said the high speed of execution of sentences and the “lack of fair trial standards”.
In neighboring Iraq, were executed at least 129 people, 61 more than in 2011. Practice of capital punishment in this country is developing very rapidly: in 2010 was recorded only one case, and in the past year 34 people were executed in one day.
According to official data, 79 death sentences were executed In Saudi Arabia, 43 in the United States, 28 in Yemen, 19 in Sudan , 14 in Afghanistan , 12 in Somalia.
Amnesty International has not been able to gather information in Egypt. About 23,000 people were under sentence all over the world.Latvia became the 97th country the last year, which removed the death penalty from its legislation.
In Europe and the Americas there are only 2 countries which practice capital punishment, Belarus and the United States.
In the USA lavel of executions remained the same as in 2011, they were distributed among nine states, compared with 13 states last year.
In 2012, only 58 countries sentenced people to death, compared with 63 in the 2011. African republic of Benin and Ghana have started the process of changing the law towards abolition of the death penalty.
Sierra Leone declined executions only de facto at the moment. A number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region, which did not practice death penalty for several years, returned to the practice in the past year.
India and Pakistan executed one person, Japan commites seven executions. Despite the increase in enforcement of sentences in some regions, the head of the Amnesty International Salil Shetty said that the global trend towards the gradual abolition of the death penalty.
According to him, “in many parts of the world penalties disappear” as there is no evidence that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime, and looks more populist measure or direct tool of political repression.