By Amnesty International
This report covers the judicial use of the death penalty for the period January to December 2018. As in previous years, information is collected from a variety of sources, including: official figures; judgments; 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 In many countries governments do not publish information on their use of the death penalty.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 2018 little or no information was available on some countries – in particular Laos, North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and Syria – 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. In 2009 Amnesty International stopped publishing its estimated figures on the use of the death penalty in China, a decision that reflected concerns about how the Chinese authorities misrepresented Amnesty International’s numbers. Amnesty International always made clear that the figures it was able to publish on China were significantly lower than the reality, because of the restrictions on access to information. China has yet to publish any figures on the death penalty; however, available information indicates that each year thousands of people are executed and sentenced to death. Amnesty International renews its call on the Chinese authorities to publish information on the use of the death penalty in China.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The organization campaigns for total abolition of capital punishment.