A soldier preparing the gallows for an execution  (file photo)

A soldier preparing the gallows for an execution

Executions Surge Globally With Iran Hitting New Records


Human rights group Amnesty International says the number of executions in the world rose alarmingly last year, with Iran accounting for the biggest portion of this rise.

According to the latest annual report by the Amnesty International published on Tuesday, executions surged 20 percent in 2021 led by China and Iran while the number of death sentences handed down increased by 40 percent.

At least 579 people were killed by states across 18 countries while at least 2,052 were given a death sentence. The figures do not include China, North Korea and Vietnam, where thousands are thought to be executed or sentenced to death each year secretly.

“The increase in executions was primarily driven by rises in the yearly figure for Iran (from at least 246 in 2020 to at least 314 in 2021, a 28-percent increase), which was the highest figure on record since 2017,” the report said.

“The spike in Iran appeared particularly for executions of people convicted of drug-related offences (132), which represented 42 percent of the total and constituted a more than five-fold rise from 2020” -- a flagrant violation of international law which prohibits use of the death penalty for crimes other than those involving intentional killing, the rights group said.

Moreover, Saudi Arabia more than doubled its number of executions, a grim trend that continued in 2022 with the execution of 81 people in a single day in March.

According to figures compiled by two advocacy groups -- Oslo-based Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO) and Paris-based Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort or ECPM (Together Against the Death Penalty) -- the number of executions in Iran doubled in the second half of 2021, around the time when President Ebrahim Raisi took office.

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