International

Executions Around the World

2017

Amnesty International recorded at least 993 executions in 2017, a 4% decline from 2016 and a 39% decline from the 25-year-high total of 1,634 reported executions in 2015. 23 countries were known to have carried out judicial executions in 2017. As in previous years, the execution total does not include the estimated thousands of executions carried out in China, which treats data on the death penalty as a state secret. Four countries—Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Pakistan—accounted for 84% of the confirmed executions in the rest of the world in 2017. The same four countries accounted for 87% of the world’s confirmed executions in 2016. The United States dropped to 8th in documented executions (23) in 2017, surpassed by Somalia’s total of 24 reported executions. However, the U.S. may also rank below Vietnam, which also keeps its execution information secret. Amnesty recorded at least 2,591 death sentences imposed in 53 countries worldwide in 2017, down 17% from the reported 3,117 death sentenced imposed in 55 countries in 2016. The U.S. ranked 11th in death sentences imposed. Amnesty reported that at least 21,919 people were known to be on death rows around the world at the end of 2017. View the full Amnesty 2017 report here, Amnesty’s summary of the report here, and Amnesty’s 2017 Facts and Figures here.

Countries with the Most Confirmed Executions in 2017

CountryNumber
China 1,000s *see above
Iran 507+
Saudi Arabia 146+
Iraq 125+
Pakistan 60+
Egypt 35+
Somalia 24
United States 23

Countries with the Most Death Sentences in 2017**

CountryNumber
China 1,000s *see above
Nigeria 641
Egypt 402+
Bangladesh 273+
Sri Lanka 218
Pakistan 200+

** Death-sentencing totals unknown for Iran, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea

Amnesty International graphic. Click graphic to view Amnesty International Global Report: Death Sentences and Executions 2017.
Amnesty International graph­ic. Click graph­ic to view Amnesty International Global Report: Death Sentences and Executions 2017.

2016

23 countries were known to have carried out judicial executions in 2016. At least 1,032 executions were carried out in 2016, a 37% decrease from the previous year. As in previous years, this figure does not include the estimated thousands of executions carried out in China, which treats data on the death penalty as a state secret. Four countries—Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Pakistan—were responsible for 87% of the world’s confirmed executions in 2016. The United States ranked 7th in documented executions (20) in 2016. However, the U.S. may actually rank behind Vietnam, as well. A report of the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security that became public in February 2017 revealed that the country secretly executed 429 prisoners between August 6, 2013 and June 30, 2016. As a result of improved data collection, Amnesty was able to document that at least 3,117 people were sentenced to death in 55 countries in 2016. View the full Amnesty 2016 report here and Amnesty’s summary of the report here.

Countries with the Most Confirmed Executions 2016

CountryNumber
China (1,000s *see above)
Iran 567+
Saudi Arabia 154+
Iraq 88+
Pakistan 87+
Egypt 44+
United States 20
Somalia 14

2015

2015: At least 25 countries were known to have carried out judicial executions in 2015. At least 1,634 executions were carried out in 2015, the highest number in 25 years. This figure does not include the thousands of executions that were believed to be carried out in China. Beginning in 2009, Amnesty International ceased to publish minimum figures for the use of the death penalty in China, where such statistics are considered to be state secrets. 89% of all recorded executions in 2015 took place in 3 countries: Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. The United States ranked 5th in documented executions (28) in 2015. However, the U.S. may actually also rank behind Vietnam. A report of the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security that became public in February 2017 revealed that the country secretly executed 429 prisoners between August 6, 2013 and June 30, 2016. At least 1,998 people are known to have been sentenced to death in 2015, a decrease compared to 2014. View the Amnesty 2015 report here.

CountryNumber
China 1,000s *see above
Iran 977+
Pakistan 326
Saudi Arabia 158+
United States 28
Iraq 26+

2014

At least 22 countries were known to have carried out judicial executions in 2014, the same as in 2013. At least 607 executions were carried out in 2014. This figure does not include the thousands of executions that were believed to be carried out in China. Beginning in 2009, Amnesty International ceased to publish minimum figures for the use of the death penalty in China, where such statistics are considered to be state secrets. The United States ranked 5th in documented executions (35) in 2014. However, the U.S. may actually also rank behind Vietnam. A report of the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security that became public in February 2017 revealed that the country secretly executed 429 prisoners between August 6, 2013 and June 30, 2016. At least 2,466 people are known to have been sentenced to death in 2014, an increase of 28% compared with 2013. The increase was mainly due to large numbers of death sentences in Egypt and Nigeria, where mass sentences were imposed in single cases with large numbers of defendants. View the Amnesty 2014 report here.

CountryNumber
China 1,000s *see above
Iran 289+
Saudi Arabia 90+
Iraq 61+
United States 35
Sudan 23+

2013

At least 22 countries were known to have carried out judicial executions in 2013. At least 778 executions were carried out in 2013. This figure does not include the thousands of executions that were believed to be carried out in China. Beginning in 2009, Amnesty International ceased to publish minimum figures for the use of the death penalty in China, where such statistics are considered to be state secrets. The United States ranked 5th in documented executions (35) in 2015. However, the U.S. may actually also rank behind Vietnam. A report of the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security that became public in February 2017 revealed that the country secretly executed 429 prisoners between August 6, 2013 and June 30, 2016. View the Amnesty 2013 report here.

CountryNumber
China 1,000s *see above
Iran 369+
Iraq 169+
Saudi Arabia 79+
United States 39
Somalia 34+

2012

At least 21 countries were known to have carried out judicial executions in 2012. At least 682 executions were carried out in 2012. This figure does not include the thousands of executions that were believed to be carried out in China. Beginning in 2009, Amnesty International ceased to publish minimum figures for the use of the death penalty in China, where such statistics are considered to be state secrets. View the Amnesty 2012 report here.

CountryNumber
China 1,000s *see above
Iran 314+
Iraq 129+
Saudi Arabia 79+
United States 43
Yemen 28+


2011

At least 20 countries were known to have carried out judicial executions in 2011. At least 676 executions were carried out in 2011. This figure does not include the thousands of executions that were believed to be carried out in China. Beginning in 2009, Amnesty International ceased to publish minimum figures for the use of the death penalty in China, where such statistics are considered to be state secrets. View the Amnesty 2011 report here.

CountryNumber
China 1,000s *see above
Iran 360+
Saudi Arabia 82+
Iraq 68+
United States 43
Yemen 41+

2005-2010

2010: At least 23 countries were known to have carried out judicial executions in 2010. At least 527 executions were carried out in 2010. This figure does not include the thousands of executions that were believed to be carried out in China. Last year Amnesty International decided not to publish minimum figures for the use of the death penalty in China, where such statistics are considered to be state secrets. View the Amnesty 2010 report here.

Countries with the Most Confirmed Executions in 2010
1. China (1,000s *see above)4. Yemen (53+)
2. Iran (252+)5. United States (46)
3. North Korea (60+)6. Saudi Arabia (27+)

2009: Eighteen countries carried out executions in 2009. Amnesty International documented the executions of 714, but this total does not include figures from China where the majority of the world’s executions take place. The real global total is significantly higher. The five countries with the most executions are Iran (388+), Iraq (120+), Saudi Arabia (69+), the United States (52), and China, which executed more people than the rest of the world combined, according to same report by Amnesty International.

Countries with the Most Confirmed Executions in 2009
1. China (1,000s *see above)4. Saudi Arabia (69+)
2. Iran (388+)5. United States (52)
3. Iraq (120+)

2008: At least 2,390 people were executed in 25 countries around the world in 2008, while 8,864 people were sentenced to death in 52 countries. Amnesty International reports that executions almost doubled in number from 1,252 in 2007. Ninety-five percent of all known executions were carried out in only six countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Pakistan and Iraq.

Countries with the Most Confirmed Executions in 2008
1. China (1,718)4. United States (37)
2. Iran (346)5. Pakistan (36)
3. Saudi Arabia (102)6. Iraq (34)

2007: In 2007, a minimum of 1,252 people were executed in 24 countries and at least 3,347 people were sentenced to death in over 50 countries. Just five countries – China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the USA – carried out the overwhelming majority (88%) of known executions in the world last year. In China execution figures are a state secret meaning their total number of executions could be much higher.

Countries with the Most Confirmed Executions in 2007
1. China (470)4. Pakistan (135)
2. Iran (317)5. United States (42)
3. Saudi Arabia (143)

2006: In 2006, there were 1,591 executions around the world. Amnesty International reported that executions worldwide fell by more than 25% in 2006, down from 2,148 in 2005 to 1,591. Of all known executions that took place in 2006, 91% were carried out in six countries: China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan and the United States.

Countries with the Most Confirmed Executions in 2006
1. China (1,010)4. Iraq (65)
2. Iran (177)5. Sudan (65)
3. Pakistan (82)6. United States (53)

2005: In 2005, there were at least 2,148 executions in 22 countries around the world. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States were responsible for 94 percent of these known executions. The following countries executed defendants in 2005 (figures are only of confirmed executions):

Countries with the Most Confirmed Executions in 2005
1. China (1,770)6. Yemen (24)
2. Iran (94)7. Vietnam (21)
3. Saudi Arabia (86)8. Jordan (11)
4. United States (60)9. Mongolia (8)
5. Pakistan (31)

Source: Amnesty International