Human rights: Amnesty: Number of executions at highest level

Human rights: Amnesty: Number of executions at highest level

More states gave up the death penalty in the past year. And yet the number of judicial and publicly known executions continues to rise.

The number of judicial executions reached its highest level in five years last year, according to Amnesty International. In its report on the worldwide use of the death penalty, published today, the human rights organization documents at least 883 executions in 20 countries in 2022.

In addition, according to this information, there are thousands of executions in China “which are kept under wraps,” as Amnesty announced today. Six countries abolished the death penalty in whole or in part last year.

According to the available documentation, the increase is mainly due to developments in the Middle East and North Africa. The number of recorded executions in Iran has increased from 314 in 2021 to 576 in 2022. In Saudi Arabia, the number tripled from 65 (2021) to 196 last year. This is the highest figure Amnesty has recorded for the country in 30 years.

According to this information, 18 people were executed in the USA last year – in 2021 there were 11 cases. Among the 883 known cases worldwide, 13 were executed women, 12 in Iran and one in Saudi Arabia.

Worrying Developments

Two developments are particularly worrying from Amnesty International’s point of view. “The increase in executions is primarily due to executions in the Middle East and North Africa region. The Islamic Republic of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are responsible for 90 percent of the world’s documented executions. In Saudi Arabia, the number of executions has almost tripled compared to the previous year, almost doubled in Iran,” said Julia Duchrow, Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International in Germany, the German Press Agency.

The report also shows that almost 40 percent of executions were based on drug-related offences. Duchrow: “More and more people are being executed in connection with drug-related crimes, for example in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia or Singapore. This number has almost doubled compared to the previous year. Poor people and members of ethnic minorities are particularly affected.”

Against the background of the increase in Iran, the international community must noticeably increase the political-diplomatic pressure on the Iranian government and vehemently campaign for the right to life, Amnesty demanded. The organization named the case of the German-Iranian Djamshid Sharmahd, who was sentenced to death in Iran. He was arrested by the Iranian secret service in Dubai and taken to Iran. A revolutionary court had made the man responsible for a terrorist attack, among other things. Amnesty called for German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to work for Sharmahd’s immediate release.

Execution figures partly remained secret

In some countries known for their widespread use of the death penalty, such as China, North Korea and Vietnam, execution numbers have remained secret, making the scale of executions carried out worldwide far greater, Amnesty said. Although the exact number of people executed in China is not known, there is no doubt that the country continues to carry out thousands of executions every year.

Six countries fully or partially abolished the death penalty in 2022, according to the report. In Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic, the death penalty has been abolished for all crimes, in Equatorial Guinea and Zambia only for common crimes.

By the end of 2022, according to Amnesty, a total of 112 countries had abolished the death penalty for all crimes, plus a further 9 countries that no longer provided it for common crimes. In the past year, death sentences have been carried out again, after interruptions, in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Myanmar, the Gaza Strip and Singapore.

Source: Stern

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