America’s forty-three executions in 2011 ranked it fifth in the world in capital punishment. U.S. executions were down from forty-six a year earlier.
“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,” Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA, told The Associated Press.
Illinois banned the death penalty last year, and Oregon adopted a moratorium on executions.
Maryland and Connecticut are close to banning executions, and Californians have worked to put a referendum on the ballot in November to abolish them.
Thirty-four U.S. states have the death penalty.
Last year, seventy-eight prisoners received death sentences,
DNA testing has exposed some mistaken convictions. U.S. states also found it more and more expensive to pursue death penalty cases.
The U.S. was the only member of the G-8 to use the death penalty last year. Japan, which retains it, recorded no executions for the first time in nineteen years.
Mexico protested the July execution in the U.S. of it citizens, Humberto Leal, for rape and murder on the grounds that he had not been advised of his rights to receive help from his consulate. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations guarantees the right of any citizen to consular help.
Fifty-one Mexican men have been sentenced to death in the United States after being denied consular assistance. The International Court of Justice ordered a review of these cases after Texas executed another Mexican man in 2008.