About 150 countries now have a moratorium or an outright ban on capital punishment. Just 21 nations were reported to have carried out executions in 2011, according to rights groups.
But the rights groups said the countries that still carry out executions remain hardcore.
China executes thousands of prisoners a year, rights groups say, and Iran put to death more than 650 people in 2011, making it the highest per capita executioner.
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