Iraq death penalties dropped by ‘more than half’ in 2020: Amnesty

File – A hanging rope is pictured

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Executions in Iraq reduced by “by more than half” in 2020, according to Amnesty International. 

Amnesty released its annual global death penalty report on Middle East and North Africa on Wednesday, with Iran occupying first place with 245 death penalties, followed by Egypt with 107 executions.

Iraq executed 45 people and Saudi Arabia carried out 27 death penalties in 2020, Amnesty added.

The four countries “accounted for 88% of all reported executions carried out worldwide in 2020, excluding China, which is believed to execute thousands each year, making it the world’s most frequent executioner,” the report said.

Amnesty, however, said the number of executions in MENA dropped by 25 percent to their lowest levels in a decade falling from 579 in 2019 to 437 in 2020.

The decrease was driven by a staggering 85% drop in recorded executions in Saudi Arabia and a reduction in death penalties by “more than half” in Iraq, it added.

“Throughout 2020 countries from the Middle East and North Africa displayed a ruthless and chilling persistence in carrying out plans to put people to death even during a year when most of the world was focused on protecting people’s lives from a deadly virus,” said Heba Morayef, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“Despite a clear global trend showing most countries moving away from use of the death penalty, MENA states make up the majority of an increasingly isolated group of entrenched executioners out of step with the rest of the world, fuelling the vast majority of executions worldwide,” Morayef added.

Amnesty said at least 483 people have been executed in the world in 2020, adding that it is the lowest number of executions recorded by the watchdog in a decade.

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