Indeed the top 22! Sadly it is for judicial executions. Amnesty has just published it’s 2005 Death Penalty report. Twenty two countries carried out the death penalty last year (and also imposed new ones). Bangladesh carried out 3 executions and imposed 218 death penalties.

Still there are encouraging signs that this barbaric practice is on its way out: 86 countries in the world have abolished the death penalty altogether and 11 others for all crimes except exceptional crimes such as war crimes. Over the last twenty years the numbers of countries using executions have halved. So the trend is definitely positive. Irene Khan, the Amnesty Secretary General (and of bangladeshi origin) pointed out the usual suspects for particular criticism:

“As the world continues to turn away from the use of the death penalty, it is a glaring anomaly that China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the USA stand out for their extreme use of this form of punishment as the ‘top’ executioners in the world.”

The death penalty issue in Bangladesh has often been raised by concerned intellectuals and some newspapers like the Daily Star and Prothom Alo. Nevertheless, like so many other human rights issues, it remains pretty much a non-issue. In a country where people applaud the extra-judicial killings of RAB this is not that surprising.