Every year around this time, Amnesty International releases its annual survey of capital punishment worldwide.
As in previous years, the report – Death Sentences and Execution 2011 – shows that support for executions continued to diminish, and that the U.S. is in the wrong company but moving in the right direction. There are three main takeaways from this years report.
1. Globally, the use of the death penalty remained in decline. At the end of 2011 there were 140 countries considered abolitionist in law or practice (it’s now 141 with the addition of Mongolia), while only 20 countries were known to have put prisoners to death. Only in the tumultuous Middle East was there an increase in executions.
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Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist, is serving a 10-year prison sentence in China for sending an email to the USA using his Yahoo account.
Yesterday was the first day of the Chinese New Year, marking an important celebration in Chinese culture. 2011 is the year of the Rabbit, an auspicious sign embodying friendship, negotiation, cooperation, and ambition. This is a great year to push for human rights change in China.
Join us in sending greeting cards to Chinese authorities, wishing them a happy New Year and asking them to release prisoners of conscience like Shi Tao, who has been in prison since 2004 simply for sending an email.
Also, let Shi Tao know you are thinking of him and that he is not alone. There is no better way to link the principles of friendship and ambition than by committing ourselves to the pursuit of human rights for all this New Year. Thanks for taking action with us!