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Egypt issued highest number of death sentences worldwide in 2021, says Amnesty

May 25, 2022 at 11:35 am

Activists with Amnesty International demonstrate to support protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt [SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images]

Egyptian courts sentenced 356 people to death in 2021, the highest number of death sentences worldwide, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

Death Penalty 2021: Facts and Figures records 579 executions in 18 countries last year, an increase of 20 per cent from the previous year.

The report found that some of the highest executioners in the world are in the Middle East and North Africa, with Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia responsible for 80 per cent of executions.

This is in contrast to levels worldwide, which are at their second lowest since 2010.

China, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria carry out the most executions, in that order, according to the report.

Of these figures, Egypt executed eight women, Iran 14 and Saudi Arabia one.

In October Syrian authorities carried out the mass execution of 24 people accused of being involved in igniting wildfires in 2020, bumping it up to the fifth biggest executioner last year.

READ: Sisi suggests Egyptians eat tree leaves as prices soar

At the time Amnesty described it as a “horrifying execution spree.” The rights watchdog accused Syria of carrying out death sentences after secret trials based on confessions extracted through torture.

Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen carried out the death sentence after proceedings which did not meet international fair trial standards.

According to the report, there were sharp increases in the number of death sentences issued in Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon.

Even though there has been a moratorium on executions in Lebanon for 18 years, the judiciary continues to sentence people to death.

Recent reports suggest that Egypt has postponed carrying out death sentences as pressure builds internally to stave off protests as prices continue to soar after the Russian invasion of Ukraine compounded inflation.

In March the UN called on Egypt to introduce a moratorium on the use of the death penalty after seven people were executed after a trial that did not meet due process standards.

At the time Amnesty said that at least six of them had been forcibly disappeared and tortured for “confessions” used to convict them.