The 55 countries that still have the death penalty – 81 executions announced in single day

Schellenberg: Expert on upholding of death penalty in China

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The Saudi state news agency SPA said the group – including seven Yemenis and one Syrian national – were guilty of offences including terrorism. Figures from Amnesty International show that Saudi Arabia remains one of the most prolific executioners in the world. The human rights organisation has said trials in capital cases are often held in secret and defendants are routinely denied access to lawyers – an allegation the Government rejects.

Some of the 81 men killed were charged with belonging to the Islamic State group (IS), al-Qaeda or the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

According to SPA, the latest group had been tried by 13 judges and gone through a three-stage judicial process.

They were accused of plotting attacks on vital economic targets, killing or targeting members of the security forces, kidnapping, torture, rape and smuggling weapons into the country.

Saturday’s figure represents more executions than the Arab state carried out in the entirety of 2021.

Beheadings are the most common execution method in Saudi Arabia, but some executions are also carried out by firing squad.

Public executions typically take place in the public square of a town or city.

Which countries still use the death penalty?

Amnesty International said in its most recent Death Sentences and Executions report – released in April 2021 – that 55 countries still retain death penalty laws.

These nations either carry out executions or the authorities have not made an official declaration not to execute.

Statistics are collected using official figures, media reports and information passed on from individuals sentenced to death and their families and representatives.

In 2020, most known executions took place in China, Iran, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia – in that order.

Official data isn’t available out of China, where death penalty statistics are a state secret, but the charity believes thousands of executions have been carried out by Beijing.

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Excluding China, 88 percent of all reported executions took place in the four other countries which carried out the most executions in 2020.

Two years ago, at least 1,477 death sentences were reported in 54 countries, a decrease of 36 percent from the total of 2,307 reported in 2019

Meanwhile, 483 executions were recorded in 18 countries, down by 26 percent from 2019.

These countries were:

  • Bangladesh
  • Botswana
  • China
  • Egypt
  • India
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • North Korea
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • US
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen

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