THE WORLD

Increase in the number of executions around the world, led by China

Executions

Photo: The Sun

The Sun - A few hours ago a man was executed in Saudi Arabia, continuing the growing trend of the number of executions carried out around the world. 

The Middle Eastern country is among the leaders when it comes to executions, behind China, where "thousands" are said to have been killed for dissent and crimes such as drug trafficking and bribery. 

In Iran, the number of executions where death sentences have been handed down for drugs has increased and this is said to have influenced 2023 to be the year with the highest number of executions since 2015 - when 1634 executions were carried out.

Last year, the intensity of executions also increased in the USA and Somalia, while "thousands" were executed in China. 

North Korea meanwhile passed a new law making it punishable by death not to speak the native Korean language. 

A total of 1153 executions were carried out last year, according to Amnesty's new report "Death Sentences and Executions". 

The figure does not include the thousands of executions allegedly carried out in China – an increase of over 30 percent by 2022. 

And there was a 20 percent increase in the number of death sentences handed out around the world, bringing the total to 2428. 

Amnesty says China was again the leader in terms of executions, but was unable to provide exact figures for it - or for North Korea and Vietnam - due to "state secrets". 

Official reports from such countries indicated that the death penalty was being used as a means of maintaining control and suppressing dissent. 

China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and the US last year carried out the largest number of executions in the world. 

Iran, according to Amesty, carried out 74 percent of all recorded executions, while Saudi Arabia 15 percent. 

Executions have been recorded in 16 countries around the world. 

No executions were recorded in Belarus, Japan, Burma or South Sudan, although each of these countries had executions in 2022. 

Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard said: “This huge increase in the number of recorded executions is largely due to Iran. Iran's authorities showed complete disregard for human life and increased executions for drug-related offenses, further highlighting the discriminatory impact of the death penalty on Iran's most marginalized and impoverished communities." 

At least 853 people were executed in Iran in 2023 – a 48 percent increase from the 576 executions recorded in 2022 – including at least 24 women and children. 
Some of the executions in Iran, some 545, were for offenses such as drug-related offences, robbery or espionage – crimes not punishable by death under international law. 
56 percent of Iran's executions were carried out for drug-related convictions. 

The number of executions in the US rose from 18 in 2022 to 24 last year after firing squad laws were introduced in Idaho and Tennessee. 

Another new law was signed in South Carolina to conceal the identities of those involved in carrying out executions.