Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2012

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The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2012 – Tipping the Scales for Abolition is Harm Reduction International’s third annual overview on the status of the death penalty for drug offences worldwide.

Tipping the Scales for Abolition documents the 33 countries and territories that retain death penalty for drug offences, including 13 in which the sentence is mandatory. In the past year many hundreds of people have been executed for drug offences in violation of international law in just a small minority of states that continue to operate at the fringes of international consensus.

Several trends are discernible. The first is that despite the fact that 33 countries or territories have capital drug laws on the books, only a small minority of countries actually impose and enforce these sanctions. Harm Reduction International estimates that executions for drug offences have taken place in only twelve to fourteen countries over the past five years. In 2011, it is probable that executions for drug offences occurred in fewer than nine countries. The trend towards abolition is, however, moving back in the right direction. This report details court cases and recent political debates that show an increasing discomfort with the death penalty for drugs, and in particular with mandatory death sentences.

This Global Overview 2012 is the sixth publication on the issue of the death penalty for drug offences that Harm Reduction International has produced since December 2007, and the third annual
overview on the status of the practice worldwide.

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