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Amnesty International Says Death Penalty Is 'On Its Way Out'

Members of Amnesty International in Moscow protest against the death penalty in Belarus in October 2009.
In a fresh report on executions worldwide, Amnesty International concludes that the death penalty is "on its way out," except for a "hard-core" of nations.

Of the former Soviet republics, it said Russia and Ukraine have not executed anyone in more than a decade.

Amnesty said that Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan have executed about 130 people between them over the past 10 years.

But since 2006, Belarus has been the only European state to carry out death sentences, including the execution of two convicts just two weeks ago.

Amnesty also challenged the Chinese government to publish the full number of people killed by the state.

Amnesty alleges China executes far more prisoners than data indicate.

Amnesty has also tracked a spike in executions in Iraq, with the number reaching 120 in 2009.

Amnesty said Iran put 388 people to death in 2009 -- including at least 112 people killed in the two months following the country's disputed elections.

compiled from agency reports