As of 2009, 95 countries, or more than two-thirds around the world, have abolished the death penalty, according to an Amnesty International report.
The human rights organization reported that in 2008, the last year with full information available, at least 2,390 people were executed in 25 countries around the world.
Of those confirmed executions, 95 percent were carried out in only six countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Pakistan and Iraq.
Continuing to use the death penalty can pose not only political, but legal complications with other countries, McCormack said.
Countries that don't allow the death penalty, such as Mexico, won't extradite prisoners to the United States if they can be executed, he said.
China executed by far the most people in 2008 with 1,718 confirmed executions. The United States reported 37 executions, followed by Pakistan with 36, and Iraq, with 34.
Since 2005, the United States has consistently been in the top six, generally in the company of the same countries, with the addition of Sudan in 2006.
Although final figures were not available, Amnesty International estimated that in 2009, China executed more people than the rest of the world combined.
In general, the Middle East and North Africa region have the highest per capita rate of executions.
LDS Church statement on blood atonement
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released this statement Wednesday:
In the mid-19th century, when rhetorical, emotional oratory was common, some church members and leaders used strong language that included notions of people making restitution for their sins by giving up their own lives.
However, so-called "blood atonement," by which individuals would be required to shed their own blood to pay for their sins, is not a doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We believe in and teach the infinite and all-encompassing atonement of Jesus Christ, which makes forgiveness of sin and salvation possible for all people.
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