In the United States, Florida is referenced in two news articles. "Florida Drags Down U.S. on Amnesty International’s Global Death Penalty Report," is the Daily Beast post by Nico Hines.
Florida has joined North Korea and Iran as a major concern for Amnesty International's death penalty campaigners.
At the launch of its annual report on global execution rates, Amnesty said the state’s law putting an express lane on death row was deeply troubling. “One of the biggest concerns we had this year was the adoption of legislation in Florida that aims at streamlining executions,” Amnesty death penalty campaigner Chiara Sangiorgio told The Daily Beast.
The Timely Justice Act signed into law by Republican governor Rick Scott is designed to get inmates into the execution chamber as quickly as possible once their appeals have been exhausted. Florida surpassed Texas in the number of death sentences handed down in 2013.
"Amnesty International reports 14 percent more deaths in 2013, yet finds a longer-term decrease even in the U.S.," is by Alfonso Serrano for Al Jazeera America.
William Van Poyck spent 25 years on death row before the state of Florida executed him last June in front of two dozen witnesses. His death by lethal injection transpired despite persistent claims that he had received inadequate legal representation during his trial, including his attorney’s failure to present mitigating evidence of child abuse and mental-health problems, and despite evidence that his co-defendant actually shot the victim, a prison guard.
Van Poyck’s case is one of hundreds detailed in an Amnesty International report released Wednesday highlighting worldwide trends in capital punishment in 2013, a year marked by a 14 percent increase in reported executions — 778 — compared with the previous year. The report, however, does not include numbers from China, where the death penalty is a state secret and data is unreliable. Amnesty believes China executed thousands of people last year.
Associated Press coverage is, "Amnesty International reports executions rose 15 percent worldwide in 2013," by Cara Anna. It's via the Christian Science Monitor.
The number of known executions around the world rose almost 15 percent in 2013, and the United States was among the five countries putting the most people to death, a new report says.
The Amnesty International report released Wednesday comes shortly after a stunning decision this week by an Egyptian court to sentence to death 529 alleged supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood after a two-session trial. The London-based rights group has called the action "grotesque."
AFP reports, "China, world's top executioner, defends death penalty," via Global Post.
China defended the death penalty Thursday as a traditional deterrent, after a report said its annual executions had again far exceeded the rest of the world's combined.
Beijing judicially put to death thousands of people in 2013 compared to a total of 778 elsewhere, the campaign group Amnesty International said in its annual report. It did not give a specific figure for China as Beijing considers the statistic a state secret and does not release it.
Democracy Now posts, "Study: Executions Rose Worldwide in 2013."
Audrey Gaughran: "Almost a hundred more people were put to death in 2013 compared to 2012. The countries responsible for that sharp spike are largely Iran and Iraq. Four countries also resumed executions during 2013, which was quite troubling. But that said, the overall picture, the long-term picture, in terms of abolition of the death penalty is positive, and if we look back over 10, 20 years, we see a steady decline in the use of the death penalty."
"Global Executions Rise With Help From Iran and Iraq," by Maddy Fry for Time.
Almost 80 percent of all known executions were recorded in only three countries: Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia. In 2013, the number of executions in Iraq went up to 169, while Iran saw them rise to 369. At least 778 people were put to death in 2013, the rights group said, compared to 682 in 2012.
China is still thought to execute the most people, though exact numbers are kept secret.
Kuwait, Nigeria, Indonesia and Vietnam last year all resumed their use of capital punishment. But there has been a general decline in the total number of countries using capital punishment in the last 20 years. Many countries who executed people in 2012 did not do so in 2013, including Gambia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.
Deutsche Welle columnist Mirjam Gehrke writes, "The right to life is inviolable."
The number of documented executions last year increased by 15 percent compared to 2012. "The death penalty belongs to the authoritarian state, to the terror state and to dictatorship. It does not belong to liberal democracy," Thomas Dehler, a former German justice minister, once said.
Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, which lead the death penalty statistics, certainly aren't liberal democracies. In these countries human rights are trampled. Oil and arms deals with these countries have done little to influence this fact.
And the US is also still part of this inglorious society. The US is therefore an inglorious exception among western democracies and on the entire American continent. The fact that by now 18 federal states in the US have abolished the death penalty and that the number of executions decreased doesn't change the perception.