Number of executions reached five-year high in 2022, says Amnesty International
A total of 883 people were executed in 20 countries in 2022, the highest number of documented legal executions worldwide since 2017 and a 53 per cent increase from 2021. The rise is mainly due to the large numbers of executions in the Middle East and North Africa, says human rights organisation Amnesty International in its annual report on the death penalty.
"Countries in the Middle East and North Africa violated international law by the ramped-up number of executions in 2022, showing a complete lack of respect for the right to life," said Eva Davidova, spokesperson for Amnesty International Flanders. "Saudi Arabia executed as many as 81 people in a single day. Iran executed people who were merely exercising their right to protest."
Three countries carried out 90 per cent of global executions, which Amnesty describes as worrying. In Iran, recorded executions rose from 314 in 2021 to 576 last year. In Saudi Arabia, the number tripled from 65 in 2021 to 196 in 2022. In Egypt, there were 24 executions. The estimated thousands of executions in China are not included in this figure.
"Saudi Arabia executed as many as 81 people in a single day"
Last year, five countries restarted executions: Afghanistan, Kuwait, Myanmar, Palestine and Singapore. Besides the rise in executions in Iran and Saudi Arabia, those in the US also increased, from 11 to 18.
While the number of executions rose, the number of documented death sentences remained almost the same: from 2,052 in 2021 to 2,016 in 2022. Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic abolished the death penalty for all crimes, while Equatorial Guinea and Zambia abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.
© ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP