[JURIST] At least 1200 people were executed worldwide in 2007, and 88 percent of those executions took place in five countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the USA, according to a report [PDF text; press release] released Tuesday by human rights group Amnesty International. Saudi Arabia had the most executions per capita, and China had the highest total at 470, but Amnesty cautioned that the number of executions it was able to confirm are likely much lower than the actual number. Amnesty found that at least 1,252 people were executed in 24 countries; 3,347 people were sentenced to death in 51 countries; and 27,000 people are now on death row. The Sydney Morning Herald has more.
In the US, the Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the lethal injection procedure [DPIC backgrounder] now used in most states meets the constitutional test for cruel and unusual punishment. Until the Supreme Court ruling in Baze v. Rees (07-5439) [docket; JURIST report], expected before the Court adjourns for the term in June, courts have stayed executions from taking place in several states, including Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida [JURIST reports].