International concern is growing at the increasing application of the death penalty in the US where 74 people were executed in 1997. Contrary to internationally-agreed safeguards and restrictions some of those executed were mentally ill and the US continues to reserve its right to use the death penalty against child offenders. Further concerns centre on the fairness in capital cases, the violation of the rights of foreign nationals and the risk of executing the innocent. A report has been produced from a visit by a UN Special Rapporteur and AI has also written to the federal authorities voicing its concern. So far there has been no reply.
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