Iran has recorded the highest number of state-sanctioned killings since 2017, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
In 2021, at least 579 executions were carried out in 18 countries – a 20 percent increase over 2020, according to an annual survey by Wright Monitor.
Iran is responsible for the biggest increase because it recorded a four-year high, with at least 314 people executed, up from 246 in 2020.
Amnesty has downplayed the rise in drug-related executions, calling it a “clear violation of international law” that only allows the death penalty for crimes involving intentional homicide.
Saudi Arabia has also seen a spike, with more than double its executions since 2020, when about 90 people were reportedly executed under martial law in Myanmar.
Amnesty said in its review that “2021 saw an alarming increase in the number of executions and executions as some of the world’s most popular executioners returned to normal business and the courts were exempt from the Covid-19 restriction.”
Judges have handed down at least 2,052 death sentences in 56 countries, with large-scale spikes seen in Bangladesh, India, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt and Pakistan, Amnesty said.
Amnesty’s boss, Agnes Calamard, said that “instead of building the opportunities presented by the break in 2020, a minority state has shown a worrying incentive to choose the death penalty for an effective solution to crime, showing gross disregard for the right to life.”
– ‘Cruel’ –
Despite the annual increase, the total number of executions recorded in 2021 is still the second-lowest number recorded since 2010.
The global total does not include executed and executed people in China, which Amnesty believes is in the thousands, in North Korea and Vietnam.
“China, North Korea and Vietnam continue to use the death penalty under the guise of secrecy, but, as always, the little things we have seen are a great danger,” said Calamard.
Amnesty has identified Myanmar as a source of concern, where the power to try civilian cases without the right to appeal has been transferred to a military tribunal.
On the positive side, rights groups have called for the abolition of the death penalty for all crimes in Sierra Leone, although this has not yet taken effect.
Kazakhstan also abolished the death penalty when Malaysia announced that it would reform the law on the death penalty by the end of the year.
Virginia became the first South American state to abolish the death penalty, when the new federal administration established a temporary moratorium on federal executions in July.
As a result, the United States has carried out its lowest number of executions since 1988.
“Minority countries that still uphold the death penalty are on notice: a world without state-sanctioned killings is simply unimaginable, it is within reach and we will continue to fight for it,” Calamard said.
“Now is the time to send the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment to the history books,” he added.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)