Four states in the Middle East are responsible for 99 per cent of the death sentences carried out in the region, Amnesty International has revealed. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Yemen are the states in question, said a new AI report.
Iraq, said the human rights organisation, has witnessed an alarming rise in death sentences, with at least 129 people executed in the past year. Its neighbour Iran is in second place after China for having the most number of executions. Officially, the figure in Iran last year was 314 people whose death sentences were carried out. However, Amnesty claims that the real number is much higher as dozens of executions were reported but not acknowledged officially by the authorities.
The ongoing use of the death penalty in the Middle East is a cause of "serious concern" for Amnesty's Secretary General Salil Shetty, who said that governments have no excuse for claiming the death penalty is a deterrent punishment. There is no evidence, he argued, that the death penalty acts as a deterrent and reduces the number of crimes committed.