“The number of executions recorded in 2022 has reached its highest level in five years, as the main countries behind this record, in the Middle East and North Africa, went on a killing spree”, denounces Amnesty International in a report published on Tuesday.
Nearly 900 people were executed in 2022 in 20 countries, a record level since 2017, criticizes Amnesty International in its annual report on the death penalty, denouncing the “murderous frenzy” of certain countries.
The human rights organization counted 883 people executed in 20 countries in 2022, an increase of 53% compared to the previous year.
“This skyrocketing number of executions, which does not take into account the thousands more that probably took place in China last year, is due above all to countries in the Middle East and North Africa, where the numbers recorded have increased from 520 in 2021 to 825 in 2022,” notes Amnesty International.
Only 20 countries taken into account
The number of executions in Iran rose from 314 in 2021 to 576 in 2022, it tripled in Saudi Arabia from 65 to 196 (the highest recorded by Amnesty International in 30 years), while Egypt executed 24 people in 2022, the report says.
Saudi Arabia “went so far as to execute 81 prisoners in a single day”, notes Agnès Callamard, the secretary general of Amnesty International.
She blames Iran, where “in a desperate attempt to put an end to the popular uprising, the authorities took the lives of people who had only exercised their right to demonstrate”.
A significantly higher total number
Amnesty International points out that the total number of executions worldwide in 2022 was in fact “significantly higher”, because “the secrecy surrounding the use of the death penalty still prevented it from being accurately assessed in several countries, such as the China, North Korea and Vietnam”.
“Although the precise number of people executed in China is unknown, this country clearly remained at the top of the countries which executed the most”, adds Amnesty International.
The report, however, retains “a glimmer of hope”: six countries have completely or partially abolished the death penalty in 2022.
Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic abolished it for all crimes, while Equatorial Guinea and Zambia only abolished it for common crimes.