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Reacting to news that the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled the death penalty violates its Constitution, Kristina Roth, Senior Program Officer at Amnesty International USA stated:

“This is tremendous news for all who fought to abolish the death penalty in Washington. Now that Washington has become the 20th state to end the ultimate cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment, other states should follow suit.

“The Court ruled that the death penalty is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner and is invalid. The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights, it does not deter crime or improve public safety, and it should be ended once and for all.”

Background: Amnesty International opposes the death penalty unconditionally.

106 countries had abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes by the end of 2017 and 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice. These figures underscore the global trend towards abolition of the death penalty. Only a few countries carry out executions. Just four countries were responsible for 84% of all recorded executions in 2017.

In 2017, the US had 23 executions in 8 states: Alabama (3) Arkansas (4) Florida (3) Georgia (1) Missouri (1) Ohio (2) Texas (7) Virginia (2). Texas remained the state with the highest number of executions, accounting for 30% of the national total.