Dozens of Women Executed in MENA in 2020; Iran Tops the List

Published May 5th, 2021 - 10:39 GMT
Human rights organization slams high number of women executed last year.
All of the executions of women recorded worldwide happened in the MENA region. (Twitter/ Amnesty International)
Human rights organization: Iran leads the MENA region for executing 9 women in 2020.

By Sally Shakkour

Amnesty International has released a report revealing that 16 women out of 483 people were executed in 2020 in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region).

The human rights organization also added that Iran has topped the list as it had executed 9 women last year only. Tehran was accountable for 56% of all recorded executions in the MENA region.

Not only Iran, but also Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Oman were included in Amnesty’s report. Egypt performed 4 executions on women; Saudi Arabia came in after Egypt with 2 death penalties, while Oman reported 1 case. 

Four MENA regions have topped the world in number of executions accounting for both genders ‘males and females’; Iran had executed over 246 people, Egypt more than 107, Iraq’s total death penalties hit over 45 while Saudi Arabia’s number of executions hit 27.

A human rights activist stated that Iran, who leads the region in the number of executions, is believed to have handed 4300 death penalties during Rouhani’s 7-year tenure; 115 cases of which were women.

Iran is a well known country for cracking down on human rights and political activists; Especially after extending the detention of Iranian-British Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who has been jailed since 2016.

Furthermore, Many other female human rights activists held in Iranaian jails are facing increased prison terms and transfers to other jails with “dangerous and alarming” conditions; including Nasrin Sotoudeh, Zeynab Jalalian, as well as Saba Kordafshari.

Despite women’s deteriorating situation in the Islamic republic, Iran was chosen by the UN to its Commission on the Status of Women; a decision which was backlashed by most human rights organizations and activists.

According to the organization's report, half of the world’s countries have so far completely banned death penalties in general. It has also encouraged other countries who didn’t abolish execution to do so as soon as possible.

The Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Heba Morayef, said: “Throughout 2020 countries from the Middle East and North Africa displayed a ruthless and chilling persistence in carrying out plans to put people to death even during a year when most of the world was focused on protecting people’s lives from a deadly virus.”

Nevertheless, China leads the world in the number of death penalties. However, the true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown as this data is classified as a state secret; the global figure of at least 483 excludes the thousands of executions believed to have been carried out in China.

The report shows 483 executions in 18 countries during the past year, a decrease of 26% from 657 recorded in 2019. This figure represents the lowest number of executions that Amnesty International has ever recorded in the past 10 years.

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