2022 saw the highest number of executions globally for five years


2022 saw the highest number of executions globally for five years as Middle East nations see a surge in the use of the death penalty

  • Amnesty International found Iran alone had put 571 people to death in 2022

The number of global executions recorded in 2022 was the highest in five years, Amnesty International has found. 

The group’s annual review recorded a total of 883 executions across 20 countries – 90 percent of which were carried out in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. 

The figure marks a 51 per cent rise on the number of executions globally in 2021. 

Amnesty’s report found that Iran put 571 people to death in 2022, up from 314 in 2021, making it the country primarily responsible for the global increase.

Of the country’s total killings in 2022, 270 people were convicted of murder, 255 of drug-related offences, 21 of rape, and 18 of the national security charge of ‘enmity against God’.

A demonstrator from the Iranian Portuguese community protests in front of the Parliament building in Portugal following Iran's sentencing to death and public execution of two young demonstrators, Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard

A demonstrator from the Iranian Portuguese community protests in front of the Parliament building in Portugal following Iran’s sentencing to death and public execution of two young demonstrators, Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard

Two men were sentenced to death for ‘enmity against God’ following the anti-government protests which erupted in September.

The figure excludes China, which is thought to execute thousands every year. The nation’s rigidity on classifying death penalty data has made it difficult for Amnesty to record a precise number.

Meanwhile Saudi Arabia carried out the second-highest number of executions at 196. This is triple the 61 carried out in 2021 and is the country’s highest recorded figure in 30 years.

Of the Saudi convictions, 85 were for terrorism-related charges and 57 for drug-related ones.

In one day in March 2022, 81 people were executed – of which 41 were members of the minority Shia Muslim community – according to Amnesty International.

In Egypt, 24 executions were recorded last year. This was  a 71 per cent decrease from the previous year, when 83 were put to death.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, 11 executions were recorded in Irag, seven in Kuwait, five in Palestinian territories and four in Yemen. 

Amnesty’s secretary general, Agnes Callamard said: ‘It’s time for governments and the UN to up the pressure on those responsible for these blatant human rights violations and ensure international safeguards are put in place.’

Meanwhile, 18 people were executed in the US – up from 11 in 2021 – while 11 were executed in Singapore. 



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