This is a decrease from 2011, when at least 1,923 people were known to have been sentenced in 63 countries worldwide, and a reduction for the second year running (2010: 2,024 death sentences in 67 countries). The minimum number of executions was down from at least 712 in 2009.
Public executions were known to have been carried out in Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Somalia.
In Saudi Arabia, executions are usually beheadings with a sword.
In one case recorded by Amnesty, a Sudanese man's head was sewn back onto his body and hung from a pole in apublic place.
After the execution of Kim Jong-un's uncle, the brutality of North Korea's regime has once again come under the international spotlight. Find out who uses the death penalty today - and see how it compares to 2007 • Get the data • North Korea executes Kim Jong-un's uncle as traitor Once a key figure in the North Korean regime, Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of supreme leader Kim Jong-un, has been executed according to an announcement from state media.
The former protector of the country's elite joins 105 other individuals to have been executed between 20 according to Amnesty International figures.
The decision comes in the same week that two men were hanged in Japan, sparking renewed controversy about the country's 'secret' executions.On Tuesday, a Bangladeshi supreme court postponed the execution of an opposition leader in order to review the case.Japan and Bangladesh are each estimated to have executed 33 and 28 individuals respectively in the five years to 2012.Despite more countries abolishing the death penalty, its practice remains commonplace.China, together with Iran, North Korea, Yemen and the US (the only G7 country to still execute people) carried out the most executions last year.Excluding China, the report says: At least 1,722 people were sentenced to death in 58 countries in 2012.