Death penalty around the world

Graphic with map of where executions occurred in 2016 and the nature of the executions

On average, there is an execution somewhere in the world every four hours. The next one could be in:


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The death penalty is cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, and a violation of human rights – but every day people are put to death in countries around the world.

In Saudi Arabia, 47 people have been executed in just one day. In Pakistan, hundreds are hanged, including juveniles and the mentally ill. In Egypt, activists and journalists face death sentences in wave after wave of repression. In the US, states are using untested combinations of misused medicines to kill prisoners, while passing secrecy laws to hide their tracks.

So-called ‘crimes’ that are punished by execution include homosexuality, adultery and blasphemy. Authoritarian regimes across the world use the death penalty and torture as tools to silence those who dare to oppose them.

The battle between human rights and the death penalty has many frontlines – and we’re on all of them. Our lawyers and investigators go to the places where executions are happening and stop them. In doing so, we protect human rights, save lives and challenge whole systems of injustice.

With us are thousands of activists across the world who believe that protecting human rights means standing up for the most vulnerable. Together, we fight for those facing execution and other extreme human rights abuses with a combination of legal action and public pressure.

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Facts from the front line


The stories

The countries

  • Image of Theresa May sitting with King Hamad Bin Isa Khalifa

    Spotlight on Bahrain

    Bahrain has made a dangerous return to the death penalty, carrying out their first executions in 7 years this January.

  • Graphic of nooses hanging in Pakistan

    Spotlight on Pakistan

    Since resuming executions in December 2014, the Pakistani authorities have gone on an unprecedented killing spree.

  • Image of a Saudi Arabian beheading

    Spotlight on Saudi Arabia

    Beheading in Chop Chop Square, crucifixion and juvenile executions. ‘Crimes’ punishable by death include adultery and apostasy.

  • Image of Ibrahim Halawa

    Spotlight on Egypt

    Reprieve has been tracking the dramatic rise in death sentences in Egypt, including the case of Irish schoolchild Ibrahim Halawa.