According to Amnesty International, at least 483 people were executed worldwide last year. While this is the lowest number recorded by the organization in ten years and a decrease of 26 percent compared to 2019.
However, despite the pandemic, there were executions in 18 countries in 2020 and some even received more death sentences than before, as shown in the Amnesty annual report on the use of the death penalty published today.
„While the world is focused on protecting people from Covid-19, several governments set about using the death penalty and executing people with shocking severity,“ said Annemarie Schlack, managing director of Amnesty International in Austria, according to a broadcast.
US continued executions under Trump
According to Amnesty, Egypt carried out more than three times as many executions in 2020 as in the previous year – an increase from at least 32 to at least 107. The US administration under President Donald Trump started carrying out executions at the federal level again in July 2020 after these were exposed for 17 years. Ten men were executed within just six months.
India, Oman, Qatar and Taiwan had also resumed executions last year. In China, at least one man was sentenced to death and executed after authorities announced they would crack down on crimes that undermined measures to combat Covid-19.
No figures known from countries like China, North Korea and Syria
The total statistics of at least 483 cases do not include figures from countries in which information on executed death sentences is considered a state secret or which only provide limited data – this applies to China, North Korea, Syria and Vietnam.
It is believed that China executes the most people in the world, with thousands executed each year, ahead of Iran (at least 246 executions), Egypt (at least 107), Iraq (at least 45) and Saudi Arabia (27). According to Amnesty 2020, the latter four countries were responsible for 88 percent of all known executions. Of the 483 people known to have been executed the previous year, 16 were women (three percent).
Research by the human rights organization shows that the decline in executions is due to lower execution rates in some countries. To a lesser extent, it is based on a pandemic-related suspension of executions in some countries, the broadcast said.