Iran responsible for two-thirds of Middle East’s executions in 2016: Amnesty International

Published April 11th, 2017 - 10:00 GMT
A hangman's noose. (Shutterstock)
A hangman's noose. (Shutterstock)

Amnesty International today said that Iran was the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s leading executioner in 2016, putting at least 567 people to death. That number included at least two and as many as seven children.

Iran was followed in the rankings by Saudi Arabia - which executed at least 154 people - and Iraq, where at least 88 were executed.

Worldwide, the organization said that China executed more people than all the other countries in the world put together, with “thousands” of death sentences handed out each year.

China lists only 85 executions carried out between 2014 and 2016 in its state database, but Amnesty International found news reports of 931 individuals executed in that time. The organization said that figure still represents but a fraction of the total put to death.

Excluding China, however, countries from MENA carry out 83% of global executions.

“Four out of the world’s top six executioners - Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq and Egypt– are from the MENA region and execution rates in these countries remain appallingly high.” said James Lynch, Head of the Death Penalty team at Amnesty International.

While the number of executions in the region was down 28% from 2015, the organization said that year had seen an unusually high number of executions.

The number of people executed in Egypt doubled in 2016, from 22 to 44. The country is now ranked sixth worldwide for executions. 

“Many MENA states justify their use of the death penalty by claiming that they are acting to counter grave security threats, despite there being no evidence that the death penalty deters violent crime,” Lynch added.

The organization also said that death sentences in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iran were often imposed after “grossly unfair” trials, many of which relied on “confessions” obtained through torture.

 

 


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