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Report: Iran, Iraq lead a slight global rise in executions trend toward abolition

An Italian anti-death penalty group says the number of executions worldwide increased last year despite a global trend toward capital punishment abolition.

The organization Hands off Cain, based in Rome, said Friday that at least 4,106 people were executed in 2013, up from 3,967 in 2012, due to increases in Iran and Iraq.

China remains the world's top executioner, with more than 3,000 executions carried out last year, about equal to 2012. Still, the report noted that executions in China have halved since 2007.

Iran recorded the highest number of executions in 15 years and Iraq the highest since the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein.

Hands off Cain said 12 additional states were considered to have abolished the death penalty in 2013 or so far in 2014.