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The death penalty around the world

Here's some good noose

Here's some good noose

Malaysia will join the nearly three quarters of countries in the world which have abolished or ceased to use the death penalty, according to Amnesty International.

Capital punishment currently remains in place in 23 countries, with China still believed to be the "world's top executioner", according to the rights group's 2017 report.

Here is an overview:

Death penalty decline

Death penalty decline

Amnesty International says that at the end of last year, 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or in practice, with 106 ending it in law for all crimes.

The latest were Guinea and Mongolia which in 2017 abolished capital punishment for all crimes, while Guatemala outlawed it for civil crimes only.

In Africa

In Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa made significant progress towards abolition with a big reduction in the number of death sentences throughout the region.

Only Somalia and South Sudan carried out executions in 2017 compared with five countries in the region in 2016.

Burkina Faso, Chad, Kenya and The Gambia, meanwhile, took measures to end the use of capital punishment by adopting new legislation or introducing bills.

Still executing

Still executing

There were 993 executions recorded in 2017 in 23 countries, a decrease of four percent from 2016 and 39 percent from 2015, which was a peak year with 1,634 executions.

Amnesty's numbers do not include the "thousands" it says are believed to have been executed in China, which classifies this information as a state secret.

Excluding China, Amnesty says Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan -- in that order -- carried out 84 percent of all executions in 2017. Compared with the previous year, the figures were down by 31 percent in Pakistan and 11 percent in Iran.

Iran carried out around 30 executions in public.

Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates took up executions again in 2017.