Amnesty says executions at highest level since 2017

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According to Amnesty International, an official total of 883 people were executed across 20 countries in 2022, marking a rise of 53% compared to figures for 2021 .

The number of recorded executions has soared over the past five years according to a new report on the death penalty released by Amnesty International .

Outside of China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt recorded 90% of the world’s judicial executions. The number of executions in Iran soared from 314 in 2021 to 576 in 2022, while Saudi Arabia’s figures tripled from 65 in 2021 to 196 in 2022.

According to the NGO, 993 people were executed in 2017, a 4% decline from 2016 and a 39% decline from the 25-year-high total of 1,634 reported executions in 2015.

China reportedly conducted over 1,000 judicial executions in 2022, however, Beijing continues to shroud its death penalty figures in secrecy. According to Amnesty, restrictive state practices in the Asia-Pacific area have prevented an accurate assessment of the use of the death penalty in the region.

Meanwhile, five countries resumed the use of capital punishment in 2022 – Afghanistan, Kuwait, Myanmar, the Palestinian territorries and Singapore. Drug-related executions also doubled in 2022 compared to 2021.

Thirteen women were among the 883 people known to have been executed in 2022: 12 in Iran and one in Saudi Arabia.

“Countries in the Middle East and North Africa region violated international law as they ramped up executions in 2022, revealing a callous disregard for human life,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. “The number of individuals deprived of their lives rose dramatically across the region; Saudi Arabia executed a staggering 81 people in a single day.” 

Most recently, in a desperate attempt to end the popular uprising, Iran executed people simply for exercising their right to protest,” she continued.

However, six countries abolished judicial executions fully or partially last year: Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Zambia.