News / Asia

Iran, Iraq Drive Spike in Executions Worldwide

Iran, Iraq, Drive Spike in Executions Worldwidei
X
Henry Ridgwell
March 27, 2014 1:14 AM
The human rights campaign group Amnesty International says Iran and Iraq are behind a spike in the number of death penalties carried out worldwide in 2013. The group says China tops the list, followed by Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United States. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Henry Ridgwell
— The human rights group Amnesty International says there was a spike in the number of death penalties carried out worldwide in 2013.  The group says China topped the list, followed by Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United States.  

A sharp rise in the number of executions in Iraq and Iran contributed to an unexpected spike in death penalties carried out worldwide in 2013, says Amnesty International's Audrey Gaughran.

"We've reported on 369 executions carried out in Iran last year, which is deeply troubling. And a number of people have commented on the scale of executions in Iran. But we also believe that more executions may have taken place," said Gaughran.

Amnesty reported 169 executions in Iraq.

Somalia also contributed to the spike, with 34 recorded executions.

"Many of the executions that we recorded this year were in the autonomous region of Puntland. I would have to stress that the executions that we've recorded in Somalia as a whole are likely to be under-recorded," said Gaughran.

Amnesty says it believes that China tops the list of numbers of prisoners executed every year - with estimates in the thousands.

Earlier this month Zang Tiewei, a member of China's top legislative body, said Beijing was considering reducing the number of crimes subject to the death penalty.

He said an amendment to the Criminal Law is included in the annual legislative agenda, and they are considering reducing the number of capital crimes step by step.

But China still keeps its policies on capital punishment highly secretive, says Audrey Gaughran.

"Until the Chinese authorities start publishing death sentences and executions and making these public, it won't be possible to confirm whether their claims that they're reducing the use of the death penalty are in fact true," she said.

The United States was fifth on the list with 39 executions in 2013 - one place behind Saudi Arabia's 79.

Pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. have begun refusing to supply the drugs needed for lethal injections - forcing state authorities to turn to more loosely regulated companies known as compounding pharmacies.

Several death row inmates have launched court cases against their sentences, arguing that the use of less regulated pharmaceuticals could cause significant pain and is inhumane.

Last month, Michael Taylor - convicted of raping and killing a teenager in 1989 - lost his court case and was executed in Missouri.

Amnesty says a total of 22 countries worldwide carried out the death penalty in 2013, one less than in 2012.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid