Which countries execute the most people?

1. China

Number of executions in 2016: Unknown, estimated at 1000+

The number of executions is a state secret, and the executions reported in the media are likely to be a fraction of those that are carried out. China continues to execute more people than any other country in the world.

Execution methods in China include shooting and lethal injection. Executions are carried out in prisons or mobile “death vans,” where prisoners are reportedly strapped to an electric-powered stretcher and injected with lethal drugs.

2. Iran

Number of executions in 2016: 567+

The actual number of executions is likely to be higher in Iran, given government underreporting and the holding of secret executions.

3. Saudi Arabia

Number of executions in 2016: 154+

This execution total is close to last year’s record high of 158. Among those executed in 2016 were at least 4 juveniles who were killed as part of a mass execution of 47 people in January. One of them, Ali al-Ribh, was arrested at his school, tortured into a false ‘confession’ to protest-related charges, and executed.

4. Iraq

Number of executions in 2016: 101+

Ongoing armed conflict makes it impossible to obtain exact figures for Iraq, but Reprieve believes that at least 101 executions took place in 2016. However, based on unconfirmed media reports, the real figure may be more than double this total.

5. Pakistan

Number of executions in 2016: 87+

According to figures gathered by Reprieve, there were at least 87 executions in 2016. This was a decrease since 2015, which saw Pakistan embark on an unprecedented execution spree, and leapfrog Saudi Arabia to become the world’s third most prolific executioner. Pakistan lifted a six-year moratorium on the execution in December 2014.

6. Egypt

Number of executions in 2016: 44+

Egypt saw executions double in 2016, with at least 44 recorded over the year. Hundreds of people are potentially facing the death penalty on protest-related charges. Among them is Irish student Ibrahim Halawa, whom Reprieve is assisting.

7. United States

Number of executions in 2016: 20

Execution numbers fell to a 25-year low amid growing concerns about the effectiveness of capital punishment. 2016 saw public support for the death penalty fall to under 50%, death sentences drop to a record low and every FDA-approved pharmaceutical company oppose the misuse of medicines in lethal injections, causing many states to put executions on hold.

Data sources: Reprieve, AmnestyDeath Penalty Worldwide