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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More