The number of executions worldwide increased last year. Amnesty International registered 589, an increase of 20 percent compared to the previous year. According to the human rights organization, the increase is related to the relaxation of corona measures.
Amnesty emphasizes that the real number is much higher. Countries like China, North Korea and Vietnam are not open about it. In China, Amnesty estimates, thousands of people will be executed by 2021.
The executions took place in eighteen countries. Death sentences were carried out in Iran 314 times, compared to 246 the year before. It is the highest number since 2017. That was mainly due to more people being convicted of drug-related charges. Three convicts were minors when they committed the crime.
Amnesty also spotlights Saudi Arabia, with 65 executions in 2021, more than twice as many as the year before. And this year there are already more than all of last year: in March 81 people were executed in one day, says the people’s organization.
At least 86 people were killed under the rule of the Myanmar junta, up from 1 a year earlier. Often the death sentences were handed down by military tribunals, with no appeals available.
The vast majority of those executed are male. 24 of the 579 were women: 14 in Iran, 8 in Egypt, and both in Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Amnesty also sees bright spots. The global trend is declining and the number of 589 is one of the lowest since the organization reported the number of executions.