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The number of executions worldwide is the highest since 2015, according to Amnesty.

The number of executions has reached the highest level in the world since 2015, fueled by a sharp rise in the number of executions in Iran, Amnesty International said on Wednesday in its annual report on the death penalty.

The London-based human rights organization counted 1,153 executions in 2023 (excluding China, which does not provide its own figures), up 30% from 2022. The number of death sentences imposed increased by 20%, reaching a total of 2,428.

According to Amnesty, the top five countries with the highest number of executions in 2023 were China, where the number is estimated at several thousand, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and the United States. Iran alone executed 853 people, almost 50% more than in 2022.

“Iranian authorities have shown a complete disregard for human life,” Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard said as quoted in the press release. She noted the increase in executions for drug-related crimes, which has a “discriminatory impact” on certain communities, including the Baloch minority.

Increase in executions in sub-Saharan Africa

Despite this increase in 2023, concentrated in particular in the Middle East, “countries that continue to carry out executions are becoming increasingly isolated,” she stressed. Last year the number dropped to sixteen, falling to unprecedented levels. In Belarus, Japan, Burma and South Sudan, no executions were recorded, unlike in 2022.

In Asia, Pakistan has abolished the death penalty for drug crimes, and Malaysia has abolished the automatic death penalty for certain crimes. Conversely, sub-Saharan Africa is among the regions where the number of death sentences increased by 66% to 494 in 2023. The number of executions, all in Somalia, more than tripled to 38.

In the United States, where 24 people have been executed, several states demonstrate an “unwavering commitment to the death penalty,” laments Agnès Callamard, who denounces the nitrogen asphyxiation method practiced in Alabama.

Amnesty’s report does not include thousands of suspected executions in China, as well as North Korea or Vietnam, as the organization sees the secrecy surrounding the figures as intended to instill “fear”.

Source: Le Parisien

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