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

Sambisa Forest Stands Between Nigeria, Victory Over Boko Haram

Military takes back nearly all towns, villages in northeast, except for massive expanse of forest that spreads thousands of square kilometers over several states More

Islamic State Recruiting Stokes Fears for Parents in Georgia

Chechens are a notable part of Islamic State's gains in Syria and Iraq, and analysts fear what might happen if those fighters return to the Caucasus More

Yarmouk Camp Becomes Distant Memory for Palestinian Diaspora

Once thriving capital of Palestinian diaspora, after siege by Syrian government forces and Islamic State group, camp becomes 'deepest circle of hell' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'i
X
Sharon Behn
April 21, 2015 9:18 PM
A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten. Sharon Behn reports on the politics of the word genocide on the 100th anniversary of the events.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video German Program Helps Migrants Overcome Traumatic Experience at Sea

Migrants fleeing poverty and violence in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia risk life and limb to reach safety in Europe. Those who have made it to European shores are traumatized by the experience. A program in Germany helps survivors overcome the trauma by giving a new perspective to their catastrophic experience. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs