The number of executions worldwide nearly doubled last year compared with 2007, says an Amnesty International report quoted by the New York Times. China put to death far more people than the rest of the world put together. In all, 59 nations still have the death penalty on their books, but only 25 carried out executions last year. Two nations, Uzbekistan and Argentina, banned the death penalty last year.
Amnesty International said at least 2,390 people were executed worldwide in 2008, compared with at least 1,252 in 2007. The group, which has long opposed the death penalty, said Europe and Central Asia have become “virtually a death-penalty-free zone” with only Belarus, a former Soviet republic, continuing to execute prisoners. “In the Americas, only one state – the United States – consistently executes,” the group said.