Egypt carried out three times more death sentences last year than the year before. The number of executions rose from 32 in 2019 to 107 in 2020, overtaking Saudi Arabia.
In the entire Middle East, the number of executions fell by a quarter, reaching the lowest level in a decade.
Human rights organization Amnesty International reports this in its latest annual report on the death penalty. While there is a worldwide trend towards abolishing the death penalty, some countries continued to implement this penalty. In some countries, the number of executions even increased, such as Egypt.
China used the death penalty to punish crimes related to the corona crisis, according to Amnesty International. In the United States, President Donald Trump’s administration resumed executions after a 17-year hiatus. Ten men were executed within six months. Also, five US states carried out seven executions.
As the world focuses on protecting human lives from corona, “some governments continue to insist on the death penalty,” notes Amnesty. “The death penalty is a disgusting punishment, and the fact that countries continue to carry out executions during a pandemic shows how cruel it is.”
Under normal circumstances, fighting an execution is tough, but during the pandemic, many people on death row were denied personal legal assistance, the organization said. That was also the case in the United States, where lawyers indicated that they could not conduct critical investigations or meet clients in person.
Amnesty insists that the figures on executions and the death penalty in China are state secret, but thousands of people are executed every year, according to the organization. As a result, China is invariably the leader in the top five. For 2020, communist China will be followed by the strict Islamic republic of Iran (more than 246 executions), Egypt (107), Iraq (45) and Saudi Arabia (27).