The number of executions in the world last year increased by 20% compared to 2020 amid the resumption of trials and the execution of sentences suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the non-governmental organization Amnesty International reported.
In total, at least 579 people were executed in 18 countries in 2021, according to the annual study. In comparison, 483 executions were reported a year earlier, the lowest number in 10 years.
An NGO names China as the country with the most executions in the world. Amnesty International notes that there is no verified data on the execution of death sentences in China - this information is a state secret. At the same time, the report, as in previous years, says that the number of death sentences carried out in China is in the thousands. There is also no reliable information on the number of people executed in North Korea and Vietnam.
Among the countries in which information on executions can be verified, Iran has become the leader in the execution of death sentences. According to human rights activists, 314 people were executed in this country against 246 in 2020. This was the highest number since 2017, and the increase is due to more frequent imposition of capital punishment for drug-related crimes.
According to Amnesty International estimates, Egypt is in second place (over 83), Saudi Arabia is in third place, where in 2021 the number of people executed has doubled to 65. Followed by Syria (over 24), Somalia (over 21), Iraq (over 17), Yemen (over 14), USA (11), South Sudan (over 9), Bangladesh (5), Botswana (3), Japan (3), Belarus (at least 1), UAE (as at least 1).
Noting the end of the coronavirus pandemic, the London-based human rights organization points out that the number of death sentences handed down by the courts in 56 countries was 2,052 in 2021, which means an increase of 40% compared to 2020. The biggest increases were in Bangladesh (up from 113 to 181), India (up from 77 to 144) and Pakistan (up from 49 to 129).
Human rights activists point out that the death penalty in 2021 has often been used by some countries as a tool of intimidation. Myanmar is cited as an example, where some 90 death sentences have been handed down by military tribunals without the possibility of challenging the decision, in some cases in absentia.