Amnesty International Says Global Executions Soared In Five Years

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The number of executions recorded globally in 2022 was the highest in five years, as several Middle Eastern states ramped up their use of the death penalty, Amnesty International says.

A total of 883 people are known to have been put to death across 20 countries, marking a rise of 53% compared to 2021, according to the group’s annual review.”

Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt alone carried out 90% of those executions.

The figures exclude China, which is thought to execute thousands each year.

Data on the death penalty is classified in China, which Amnesty said impaired its ability to make an accurate assessment about the numbers put to death in the country.

The group was also able to confirm that executions were carried out in North Korea, Vietnam, Syria, and Afghanistan, but there was insufficient information to provide credible minimum figures.

According to Amnesty’s report, Iran and Saudi Arabia were mainly responsible for the sharp increase in known executions worldwide last year.

It says, “Iran put 576 people to death – up from 314 in 2021. Of this year’s total, 279 people were convicted of murder, 255 of drug-related offences, 21 of rape, and 18 of the national security charge of enmity against God.”

The final category included two men who were detained in connection with the anti-government protests that erupted in the Islamic Republic in September. They faced what a UN expert called “arbitrary, summary and sham trials marred by torture allegations.”

In Saudi Arabia, executions tripled from 65 in 2021 to 196 in 2022 – the highest number that Amnesty has recorded in the country in 30 years.

Eighty-five people were put to death after being convicted of terrorism offences and 57 for drug offences, according to the report. Their drug-related executions marked the end of a moratorium reportedly in place since 2020.

Mass Execution
On a single day in March 2022, authorities carried out the mass execution of 81 people. At least 41 were members of the Shia Muslim minority, including two convicted of crimes related to their participation in anti-government protests.

Amnesty has previously accused the Saudi justice system of meting out death sentences following trials that are grossly unfair, including basing verdicts on “confessions” extracted under torture or other ill-treatment

In Egypt, 24 people were put to death last year. However, that represented a 71% decrease compared to 2021, when 83 were executed.

Amnesty also reported executions in Iraq (11), Kuwait (7), the Palestinian Territories (5), Yemen (4), and Syria (unknown).

Agnès Callamard, the group’s secretary general, accused Middle Eastern states of violating international law and demonstrating “a callous disregard for human life.

It’s time for governments and the UN to up the pressure on those responsible for these blatant human rights violations and ensure international safeguards are put in place,” she said.

Elsewhere in the world, 18 people were executed in the US, up from 11 in 2022, and 11 were put to death in Singapore, where executions for drug offences resumed after a two-year hiatus during the Covid pandemic.

 

 

BBC/Shakirat Sadiq