The death penalty has fallen globally despite an increase in some countries

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The number of executions around the world continues to decline. But in some of the 18 countries to retain this penalty, it has on the contrary increased. And this despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, underlines Amnesty International Wednesday in its annual report.

The unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic were not enough to deter 18 countries from carrying out executions in 2020, Amnesty International said on Wednesday in its annual report on the death penalty around the world. Globally, at least 483 people were executed last year, a record that does not take into account figures for countries that classify death penalty data as state secrets, or for which only limited information is available, namely China, North Korea, Syria and Vietnam).

Effects of the pandemic

This is the lowest number of executions recorded by Amnesty International in at least a decade, representing a decrease of 26% from 2019, and 70% from the peak of 1,634 executions in 2015.

The report indicates that this drop in the number of executions results from the decline recorded in some countries and, to a lesser extent, the suspension of executions decided in some cases due to the pandemic. The number of executions recorded in Saudi Arabia fell by 85%, from 184 in 2019 to 27 in 2020, and by more than 50% in Iraq, where it fell from 100 in 2019 to 45 in 2020.

No executions were recorded in Bahrain, Belarus, Japan, Pakistan, Singapore and Sudan, while in 2019 these countries had all applied death sentences.

Egypt, however, tripled its annual number of executions compared to the previous year, becoming the third country in the world in terms of executions in 2020. At least 23 of those sentenced to death were sentenced to death in related cases. political violence. Executions peaked in October and November, when Egyptian authorities executed at least 57 people.

In the United States the Trump administration resumed federal executions after a 17-year hiatus and killed 10 men in less than six months. The United States was the only country in the Americas to carry out executions in 2020. India, Oman, Qatar and Taiwan have also resumed executions, according to Amnesty International.

Also read: Virginia, first southern state in the United States to abolish the death penalty

China has announced a crackdown on acts affecting prevention efforts against Covid-19, which has resulted in the death sentence and execution of at least one man. However, Amnesty estimates that China carries out several thousand executions each year, ranking it first among the countries with the most executions, ahead of Iran (246+), Egypt (107 +), Iraq (45 +) and Saudi Arabia (27). These four countries alone were responsible for 88% of all executions recorded worldwide in 2020.