Most of the executions in 2015 took place in China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the US – in that order, according to Amnesty International.

The trend of executions represents over 50 percent increase in the number recorded in 2014, when 1,061 executions were carried out in 22 countries, it said.

China remained the world's top executioner but the true extent of the use of the death penalty in the country is unknown as this data is considered a state secret, the London- based body said.

Pakistan - which lifted a ban on execution after Peshawar school terror attack of December 16, 2014 - hanged 326 people out of at least 1,634 executed in 25 countries in 2015.

The total number of executions last year is the highest worldwide since 1989, Amnesty noted.

It said that excluding China, almost 90 percent of all executions took place in just three countries including Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
India, with one execution in 2015, is also included in the list of 25 countries.

So far, 140 countries worldwide, more than two-thirds, are abolitionist in law or practice.

It said that at least 1,998 death sentences were recorded in 61 countries in 2015. There were at least 20,292 people on death row at the end of 2015.

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