Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia lead the world in documented executions, according to the latest global report from Amnesty International.
According to Amnesty, China executed more people than the rest of the world put together, but the data on the use of the death penalty is considered a state secret, so no exact numbers were recorded in the report.
Excluding China, the report shows a stark rise in the number of executions carried out in Iran and Iraq. Iraq showed a 30 percent increase in the number of people put to death, rising from 129 in 2012 to 169 in 2013. Although official figures for Iran report 369 executions (up from 314 in 2012), Amnesty states that credible sources report at least 335 additional executions, bringing the total to at least 704.
The report shows that of the 638 confirmed executions in the region, three countries- Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia- accounted for 95 percent of them. It could not be confirmed if executions took place in Egypt, though an Egyptian court last week sentenced over 500 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death. It could also not be determined if executions took place in Syria, though tens of thousands died in the country’s civil war.
Dozens of individuals have been sentenced to death by Hamas and by the Palestinian Authority. Israel does not carry out capital punishment, even of convicted terrorists.
In Africa, at least 64 executions are known to have been carried out in five countries, more than a 50 percent rise from 2012. Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan accounted for more than 90 percent of the total in Africa, with Nigeria carrying out executions for the first time in eight years.
Europe remained execution-free in 2013.