Executions fell worldwide by nearly a third last year to their lowest levels in at least a decade, but several countries recorded a rise, Amnesty International said yesterday. Use of the death penalty dropped in Iran -- by an eye-popping 50 percent, following a change to its anti-narcotics laws -- Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia, the rights group found in its annual review. But it rose in Belarus, Japan, Singapore, South Sudan and the United States, while Thailand resumed executions for the first time in a decade and Sri Lanka threatened to follow suit. “Despite regressive steps from some, the number of executions carried out by several of the worst perpetrators has fallen significantly,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. He added the “dramatic” drop globally proved that “even the most unlikely countries are starting to change their ways and realise the death penalty is not the answer”.