In 2022, Iran executed at least 576 people – more than any other country except China – according to Amnesty International’s annual report on the death penalty. Executions were up 83 percent compared to 2021. The spike was linked to death sentences for drug-related offenses and murder. But Iran also “continued to use the death penalty as a tool of political repression and to disproportionately execute members of ethnic minorities as part of the long-term, entrenched discrimination and repression of these groups,” the human rights monitoring group noted. The following are key excerpts and graphics.
The World’s Top Executioners: 2022
- China: 1,000s (data on executions is kept secret)
- Iran: 576+
- Saudi Arabia: 196
- Egypt: 24
- United States: 18
The death penalty continued to be used in ways that violated international law and standards in 2022. Some examples included:
- At least 3 public executions: in Afghanistan (1+) and Iran (2).
- At least 5 people – in Iran – were executed for crimes that occurred when they were below 18 years of age; Amnesty International believed that other people in this category remained on death row in Maldives, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
- People with mental or intellectual disabilities were under sentence of death in several countries, including Iran, Japan, Maldives and USA.
- Death sentences were known to have been imposed after proceedings that did not meet international fair trial standards in several countries, including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Viet Nam and Yemen.
- “Confessions” that may have been extracted through torture or other ill-treatment were used to convict and sentence people to death in Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Amnesty International recorded 576 executions in Iran, an increase of 83% compared to 2021 when 314 executions were recorded. Of the 576 executions recorded by Amnesty International, 279 (48%) were for murder; 255 (44%) were for drug-related offences; 21 were for rape; 18 were for moharebeh (enmity against God); and three were for unknown crimes. Two executions were carried out in public, and 12 women were executed. During the year, the Iranian authorities executed five people who were under the age of 18 at the time of the offence for which they had been convicted. Increases in recorded executions for murder and drug-related offences were largely responsible for the 83% spike in recorded executions in Iran. Recorded executions for murder had risen sharply by 75% from 159 in 2021 to 279 in 2022; and spiked for drug-related offences by 93%, from 132 in 2021 to 255 in 2022. The Iranian authorities continued to use the death penalty as a tool of political repression and to disproportionately execute members of ethnic minorities as part of the long-term, entrenched discrimination and repression of these groups.
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