(Jamaica Gleaner) Amnesty International has declared the Caribbean an execution-free area, with the number of countries imposing new death sentences appearing to be in decline.
In its Death Penalty Report for 2011, Amnesty International says only three countries are known to have handed down a total of six death sentences.
These countries are Guyana, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
Jamaica is among those countries which still have the death penalty, but it has not carried out an execution since 1988, as a result of various legal and human rights issues.
In the meantime, Amnesty International said only 20 out of 198 countries carried out executions last year.
However, it said countries that carried out executions in 2011 did so at an alarming rate.
People were executed or sentenced to death for a range of offences including adultery and sodomy in Iran, blasphemy in Pakistan, sorcery in Saudi Arabia, the trafficking of human bones in the Republic of Congo, and drug offences in more than 10 countries.
Methods of execution in 2011 included beheading, hanging, lethal injection and shooting.
Amnesty International said some 18,750 people remained under sentence of death at the end of 2011 and at least 676 people were executed worldwide.
However, these figures do not include the thousands of executions that Amnesty International believes were carried out in China, where the numbers are suppressed.