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UN investigator urges countries to disclose death penalty stats

[JURIST] Philip Alston [NYU faculty bio], a UN human rights investigator speaking in Geneva Friday, urged countries to remove their "cloak of secrecy" and disclose the numbers of prisoners executed and those waiting on death row. Alston, an Australian jurist and law professor, remarked that secrecy undermines procedural safeguards that ensure fairness and prevent errors and abuse. He further stated that secrecy "denies the human dignity of those sentenced, many of whom are still eligible to appeal, and it denies the rights of family members to know the fate of their closest relatives...." Alston has sought an invitation to China, which tops executions worldwide with 3,400 last year, and is also expected to visit Iran this year. Both countries have allegedly violated international law by executing prisoners under 18. Reuters has more.

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