|Nooses were displayed in London during a protest by an exiled Iranian opposition group last August. The 140% rise in the number of executions in Saudi Arabia last year was, according to Amnesty, the start of a "grim trend that continued in 2022 with the execution of 81 people in a single day in March". (Photo by= SOPA Images)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] There was a worrying rise in executions in 2021 as Covid-19 restrictions were eased, Amnesty International says, with spikes seen in Iran and Saudi Arabia. A report by the human rights group says at least 579 executions were known to have been carried out in 18 countries - a 20% increase from the previous year, BBC reported.
Iran accounted for the biggest portion of this rise. It put to death at least 314 people, compared with 246 in 2020. Saudi Arabia more than doubled its number of executions to 65. The global total is the second-lowest figure, after 2020, that Amnesty has recorded since at least 2010. However, as in previous years, it doesn't include China. Although it is believed to execute thousands of people each year, the data on its use of the death penalty is a state secret.
Amnesty's annual death penalty report says Iran's highest known figure since 2017 was due in part to a more than five-fold increase in drug-related executions to 132, from 23 in 2020. The rights group calls this a "flagrant violation of international law, which prohibits the use of the death penalty for crimes other than those involving intentional killing". The report says that the easing of Covid-related restrictions also led to judges handing down at least 2,052 death sentences in 56 countries.