Global Executions Highest in 5 Years, Amnesty International Says

Global Executions Highest in 5 Years, Amnesty International Says

Two men, both 23, Majid Reza Rahnavard and Mohsen Shekari, were hanged in December after they were charged with “moharebe,” a broad term that means waging a war on God, in connection with the large uprisings led by women and girls that embroiled the nation last year.

The Amnesty report comes as executions have surged over the past five months in Iran. At least 209 people have been put to death since January, according to the United Nations.

“On average so far this year, over 10 people are put to death each week in Iran, making it one of the world’s highest executors,” the United Nations’ human rights chief, Volker Türk, said in a statement this month.

“The numbers are appalling,” said Sanam Vakil, the director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House, a research organization in Britain. She said that the executions, especially of young people, were “intended to send a very clear and stark message that dissent is not going to be tolerated.”

The Amnesty report also noted significant increases in executions in Kuwait, Myanmar and the Gaza Strip. But the global rise was countered by more signs that governments around the world were increasingly moving away from the death penalty. Four countries, the Central African Republic, Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea and Sierra Leone, abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

For the 14th consecutive year, the United States was the only country to execute people in the Americas, with 18 executions — the fewest by the nation since 1991. New death sentences and public support for the death penalty also remained at their lowest levels in decades, according to a report by the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit group that opposes capital punishment.

Vivian Nereim contributed reporting.

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