Top five dead or alive, that’s the rank of the United States when it comes to capital punishment worldwide.
In an Amnesty International study, America had 43 executions under its belt in 2011, ranking them fifth in the world in capital punishment, although executions were down from 46 a year earlier.
In the group’s annual review of worldwide death penalty trends, China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran rounded out the top places where capital punishment is a vital part of law enforcement.
Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA told the Associated Press:
"If you look at the company we're in globally, it's not the company we want to be in: China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq.”
When it came to America’s fascination with capital punishment, Nossel said:
“I think the debate on the issue may be nearing a tipping point in this country. I think we're seeing momentum at the state level, in the direction of waning support for the death penalty.
Our government has made a very strong point of trying to reassert its position as a standard-bearer on human rights globally.
When other countries look at the United States, the use of the death penalty really stands out a lot in the mind of Europeans and others around the world. We're in such incongruous company."
The fact is, America is consumed with life and death.
With social issues like contraception and abortion garnering everyday debate, it’s no surprise we’re on the capital punishment list.
The figures found by Amnesty International’s research are the largest that can safely be drawn from their data, although they do admit the number of executions can be higher considering some states conceal death penalty proceedings, while others do not keep or make available statistics on the numbers of death sentences and executions.
This is why Amnesty International added a "+" symbol after a country, preceded by a number; it means that the figure AI calculated is a minimum figure. It also indicates that there were executions or death sentences (at least more than one) in that country.