London presses U.S. on death penalty

March 29, 2011 at 2:00 PM
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LONDON, March 29 (UPI) -- More U.S. states are called on to abolish the death penalty, the British government said after a review of the practice by Amnesty International.

Amnesty International in a report on worldwide executives said the United States, the only country in the Americas to carry out executions, put 110 prisoners to death last year. Several states, however, have moved to abolish the practice.

Amnesty International in its "Death Sentences and Executions in 2010" report released cited China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United States and Yemen as being among "the most frequent executioners, some in direct contradiction of international human rights law."

Jeremy Browne, the minister of state at the British Foreign Office, said it was encouraging to read that Amnesty International noted 31 countries have moved against the death penalty in the last decade. The six named in the report, however, continue to carry out executions.

Browne said it was London's longstanding policy to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances.

"There is still much progress to be made but I am delighted that the state of Illinois has recently abolished the death penalty," he said. "We urge other states and nations to follow their example."

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