News / Middle East

Amnesty Alarmed About Middle East Executions

Amnesty International Calls Executions in the Middle East Alarmingi
April 10, 2013 2:44 PM
Twenty-one nations carried out the death penalty in 2012, according to Amnesty International's yearly report published on Wednesday. That's the same number as in 2011 - but a marked shift from ten years ago, when 28 countries carried out executions. In London, Selah Hennessy reports for VOA.
Selah Hennessy
Twenty-one nations carried out the death penalty in 2012, according to Amnesty International's yearly report, published Wednesday. That is the same number as in 2011 - but a marked shift from ten years ago, when 28 countries carried out executions.

Kamil Alboshoka is an Iranian Arab who sought asylum in Britain seven years ago.

Two of his cousins and his three best friends, all from the Ahwazi Arab minority, are accused of treason and are facing execution.

He says had he not left Iran he may have faced the same fate.

"Definitely, if I didn't flee I would be being executed with them, in the same situation. It is just I was lucky to flee," he said.
Now, when he is not studying, he campaigns with the support of global human rights organizations to stop the executions of his friends and family.

"I was very close with them so we had a very good time with each other. So I cannot imagine them being executed," he said. "I can't, it's too hard."

The London-based human rights group Amnesty International monitors executions.  It says the number of executions last year in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East was alarming.

"Seventy-five percent of all confirmed executions that we are counting were carried out in three countries worldwide, which are Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. And, especially in Iraq and Iran," said Jan Wetzel, the author of Amnesty's 2012 report.  "We see hundreds of executions -- that's just the ones we know about -- hundreds every year."

Wetzel says 70 percent of executions in Iran are related to drugs charges.

According to the report, 682 executions were recorded worldwide, last year, two more than in 2011. Methods included lethal injection, hanging, beheading and firing squads.

Amnesty says aside from Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, China and the United States were the worst offenders.

The United States was the only country in the Americas to carry out executions. The number was 43, which is the same as in 2011. In April, Connecticut became the 17th state to abolition the death penalty.

Although China's figures are a state secret, Amnesty believes thousands are executed there every year.

Wetzel says the report highlights some bad news in the Asia-Pacific region: the resumption of executions last year in Japan, India and Pakistan.

But he says there was also good news.

"On the positive front, we do see a lot of movement specifically in West Africa, where governments in Benin, in Ghana, in Sierra Leone are actively taking steps to move away from the death penalty and are preparing legal abolition," he added.

Despite those moves in West Africa, the number of death sentences across Sub-Saharan Africa rose in 2012 because of higher tallies in Sudan and the Gambia. In Gambia, nine people were killed in August - a major shift after a 30-year hiatus.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: someone from: internet
April 11, 2013 8:18 PM
How about american executing thousand in middle east?
In Response

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
April 13, 2013 1:11 AM
What are you talking about, the US is not in charge of the ME, it does not execute people in the ME? look at the maps provided in the article and look at the definition in the Amnesty site..? The US does execute criminals in the US, as the article clearly points out! Amnesty international puts out all the information on executions around the world, read their reports before you make uninformed assertions; and no they do not work for the US gvmt...

by: Brian from: USA
April 11, 2013 12:51 PM
Amnesty, what about the victims?

by: Sarah
April 11, 2013 9:03 AM
The last time I checked, China was not in the Middle-East.
The title of this article is extremely misleading.

by: Dana from: Washington state
April 10, 2013 10:21 PM
According to the graph, CHINA had the most executions...then the Middle East, and then The United States.

by: Hovhannes from: Montevideo
April 10, 2013 1:21 PM
Why does Amnesty only care about the fate of criminals, murderers and drug smugglers? What about the victims of the murderers? Does Amnesty think drug smuggling is an honorable job?

by: Muhamad Falful from: Egypt
April 10, 2013 10:37 AM
I know that almost all of these criminals in my country are agents of US/Israel.
In Response

by: Mr. President from: United States
April 11, 2013 9:48 AM
So I guess that means the whole population of Egypt are agents of the United States/Israel because Egypt gets the most U.S. foreign aid of any country except for Israel. (This doesn't include the money spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.) The amount varies each year and there are many different funding streams, but U.S. foreign assistance to Egypt has averaged just over $2 billion every year since 1979, when Egypt struck a peace treaty with Israel following the Camp David Peace Accords, according to a Congressional Research Service report from 2009.

So in my countries eyes (at the expense of the taxpayers) it is everyone in your country who accepts money from us that are criminals.
In Response

by: Dirk Silver from: Los Angeles
April 10, 2013 2:21 PM
Your comment is typical blood libel and paranoia of your region. You make that comment because it is an easy way to avoid real issues. Your opinion lacks analysis and is thoughtless. One day your neighbor will accuse you of being an agent of US/Israel, and nobody will defend you.

by: Dirk Silver from: Los Angeles
April 10, 2013 6:40 AM
Did the Amnesty report mention anything about the victims of these criminals or was the focus solely on a liberal emotional love affair with criminals and terrorists?
In Response

by: Anonymous
April 10, 2013 10:21 PM
In the U.S., executions are far more costly than life imprisonment due to the extensive appeals process.
In Response

by: kamil Alboshoka from: London
April 10, 2013 12:03 PM
Great report Selah. I really thank Amnesty and VOA English.
In Response

by: Henry from: Sydney
April 10, 2013 11:26 AM
I think the Amnesty mob should pay for the upkeep of criminals since they want to keep them alive as pets of the state. Why should the taxpayer feed these criminals for life when its cheaper to execute them and use the money to feed the World's starving children?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle reports from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs