This report covers the judicial use of the death penalty for the period January to December 2016. As in previous years, information is collected from a variety of sources, including: official figures; information from individuals sentenced to death and their families and representatives; reporting by other civil society organizations; and media reports. Amnesty International reports only on executions, death sentences and other aspects of the use of the death penalty, such as commutations and exonerations, where there is reasonable confirmation. In many countries governments do not publish information on their use of the death penalty. In Belarus, China and Viet Nam, data on the use of the death penalty is classified as a state secret. During 2016 little or no information was available on some countries – in particular Laos, North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Syria and Yemen – due to restrictive state practice and/or armed conflict.

Therefore, with only a few exceptions, Amnesty International’s figures on the use of the death penalty are minimum figures. The true figures are likely to be higher. Where the organization obtains fuller information on a specific country in a given year this is noted in the report.

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