By Andy Sambidge
Amnesty International says Gulf kingdom carried out 79 executions last year; China topped list
Saudi Arabia carried out 79 executions last year, the fourth highest of any country in the world, according to an annual list published by Amnesty International.
The rights group said Iran and Iraq caused a sharp global spike in the number of executions carried out in 2013, bucking the global trend towards abolition of the death penalty,.
Alarming levels of executions in an isolated group of countries in 2013 - mainly the two Middle Eastern states - saw close to 100 more people put to death around the world compared to the previous year, a jump of almost 15 percent.
The number of executions in Iran (at least 369) and Iraq (169) saw the two countries take second and third place in the death penalty league table, with China topping the list.
While the number of executions in China is kept secret, Amnesty International said it believes thousands are put to death every year.
Saudi Arabia (79) and the USA (39) took fourth and fifth place with Somalia (34) in sixth place.
Excluding China, at least 778 executions were known to have been carried out in 2013, compared to 682 in 2012.
People were executed in a total of 22 countries in 2013, one more than in the year before. Indonesia, Kuwait, Nigeria and Vietnam all resumed the use of the death penalty.
“The virtual killing sprees we saw in countries like Iran and Iraq were shameful. But those states who cling to the death penalty are on the wrong side of history and are, in fact, growing more and more isolated,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary general.
“Only a small number of countries carried out the vast majority of these senseless state-sponsored killings. They can’t undo the overall progress already made towards abolition.”
Despite the rise in 2013, there has been a steady decline in the number of countries using the death penalty over the last 20 years, Amnesty said.
Many countries who executed in 2012 did not implement any death sentences last year, including Gambia, the UAE and Pakistan, where authorities again suspended the use of the death penalty. Belarus also refrained from executions, meaning Europe and Central Asia was execution-free for the first time since 2009.
Twenty years ago, 37 countries actively implemented the death penalty. This number had fallen to 25 by 2004 and was at 22 last year. Only nine of the world’s countries have executed year on year for the past five years.
“The long-term trend is clear – the death penalty is becoming a thing of the past. We urge all governments who still kill in the name of justice to impose a moratorium on the death penalty immediately, with a view to abolishing it,” said Shetty.
Why are they allowed to execute people, why did Obama not mention anything on his visit Just the same as our spineless UK Government, they even went securing arms deals whilst Britons were rotting in a Saudi Jail subjected to horrendous torture, sleep deprivation starvation.Our Government let it go on, never upset the Saudi,s was the motto and it always will be for leaders of all nations, Obama is no different from Cameron Blair and Bush, the only reason the Brits got released was because the Saudi Regime wanted something and that was 5 Gitmo terrorists so they done a deal.