News / Middle East

Amnesty Alarmed About Middle East Executions

Amnesty International Calls Executions in the Middle East Alarmingi
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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.

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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?

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