“Glimmer of hope” in Africa as recorded executions soar to highest level in years
Recorded executions in 2022 reached the highest figure in five years, according to an Amnesty International annual report published on Tuesday (16 May), which also decries the situation particularly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) with its “most notorious executioners (carrying) out killing sprees”.
Recorded executions worldwide reached 883 last year, the highest level since 2017, Amnesty International’s annual review of the death penalty said, adding that the 2022 figure for 20 countries known to have executed people is a 53% increase on the previous 12 months. It excludes the “thousands” of prisoners put to death secretly in China, but does count the “staggering” 81 people executed in a single day in Saudi Arabia, it added. Last year, executions resumed in five countries — Afghanistan, Kuwait, Myanmar, the State of Palestine and Singapore — while an increase in executions was also recorded for Iran (314 to 576), Saudi Arabia (65 to 196), and the United States (11 to 18).
The spike in executions was led by countries in the MENA, where recorded figures rose from 520 in 2021 to 825 in 2022. “Countries in the Middle East and North Africa region violated international law as they ramped up executions in 2022, revealing a callous disregard for human life,” the report says. Countries in the MENA region “violated international law as they ramped up executions in 2022, revealing a callous disregard for human life,” said Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International. But against this bleak backdrop, there was a glimmer of hope as six countries — Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Zambia — abolished the death penalty either fully or partially, says the report.