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After new hangman reportedly found, Amnesty International fears new executions in Zimbabwe

Amnesty International says it fears Zimbabwe will resume executions after the state media quoted prison officials saying they have found a new hangman after a seven-year search.

Since the last executioner retired in 2005, 76 prisoners have been held on Death Row. Prison officials last week said only that the search for a hangman was over and did not elaborate.

Some convicts were condemned to death 12 years ago and rights groups have campaigned for all the death sentences to be commuted to life, describing years of delays as inhumane.

Amnesty said in a statement Friday the "macabre recruitment" was a disturbing sign that bucked against world trends to abolish the death penalty.

State media reported the hangman signed on "mid last year" but has yet to be put to work.