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Billionaire calls for worldwide abolition of death penalty, says its “barbaric”

British billionaire, Richard Branson has called for the abolition of death penalty across the world following the  Amnesty International global report on death sentences and executions, which was released on Tuesday, April 6, 2016.

The report revealed that at least 1,634 people were executed in 25 countries in 2015, which is over 50% increase from the 2014 figure.

Branson described the capital punishment as “inhumane and should have no place in any society. Those are non-negotiable beliefs.”

According to the report, which shows that the 2015 statistics is the highest recorded by Amnesty in the last 25 years, nearly 90 per cent of the executions carried out last year were just in three countries – Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

Al though it is believed that China execute more people more than the three countries, it is not included in Amnesty’s number of recorded executions because the country does not release official figures on capital punishment.

Giving a US case study and lamenting the erroneous conviction of innocent persons, Branson said over 150 death-row inmates in the US have been freed in the last decades.

He said: “It doesn’t take much to understand how fraught with problems the death penalty is. Last year, I wrote about the case of Richard Glossip in the US state of Oklahoma, a man widely believed to be innocent of the crime he was sentenced to die for. Richard came within minutes of lethal injection, and is still facing an uphill battle proving his innocence against a criminal justice system that hates admitting error.

“More than 150 death-row inmates in the US have been exonerated and freed in the last decades, but many only after decades on death row, fighting unethical prosecutors, incompetent lawyers and politicians who presume the public wants them to pull the trigger or flip the switch.

“I hope a new generation of political leaders will take a clear-eyed view of this problem.

“I can’t say it often enough. It’s time to abolish the death penalty for good, in the US and around the world.”

In what appears to be a glim of hope and progress, the report said four countries abolished death penalty for all crimes and expunged it from their law books in 2015.

The countries include Republic of Congo, Fiji, Madagascar and Suriname.

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