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Egypt, Saudi, Iran account for 90% of global executions, says Amnesty

Kuwait, Afghanistan and Palestine returned to using the death penalty after years of not implementing the punishment

May 16, 2023 at 12:00 pm

Egypt executed 24 people in 2022 and was the fourth highest executioner worldwide, according to a new report by the advocacy group Amnesty International.

However, executions did reduce significantly in the country, down from 83 the previous year.

The top executioner was China, which executed thousands, followed by Iran which put to death more than 576 people and Saudi Arabia which executed 196.

Executions in Saudi Arabia tripled from the previous year, the highest number recorded by Amnesty in three decades.

Executions in Egypt, Saudi and Iran accounted for 90 per cent of all known executions.

In Iran, executions increased by 83 per cent.

Earlier this month, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights denounced the “deeply alarming” high number of executions carried out this year in Iran, which is averaging more than ten executions per week.

READ: UN rights chief condemns ‘deeply alarming’ executions in Iran

Amnesty’s report reveals that there was a spike in the number of people executed worldwide at 53 per cent, but also that several countries had taken “decisive steps away from the death penalty in 2022.”

“Without doubt, the world continued to move away from the death penalty and only a minority of countries – that are increasingly becoming isolated – actively used the punishment. Six countries abolished the death penalty either fully or partially in 2022.”

Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

The significant increase in executions was seen in the Middle East and North African countries.

Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Palestine were among the countries which resumed executions after not doing so for several years, according to Amnesty’s report.

In March 2022 Saudi Arabia announced that it had executed 81 people in one day for a mixture of “terror” related crimes. Defendants were actually convicted of charges such as taking part in protests and “disrupting the social fabric and national cohesion.”

Saudi is known for holding trials that are unfair and extracting ‘confessions’ after detainees have been tortured.

Amnesty International’s secretary general said: “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.”

“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.”