This report provides compelling evidence of the futility and injustice of trying to use the death penalty to suppress drug trafficking and abuse. Some 26 countries have responded to the drug menace by introducing laws which make drug-related offences punishable by death. Thousands of prisoners have been executed, most of them after unfair trials. There is, however, no clear evidence that the death penalty has had any identifiable effect in alleviating trafficking and abuse. This AI report reveals wide differences among national laws. It also points out that the enactment of laws in some countries undermines internationally accepted norms for a fair trial. The death penalty seems to have been introduced with little consideration of the risks it could entail. The UN has never given any endorsement to the use of the death penalty for drug trafficking and some countries are rejecting it as a means of controlling drug offences. AI hopes that this report will convince governments that the death penalty should not be used and that its absence will not harm efforts to combat drug trafficking and abuse.
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