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Amnesty International Global Report: Death sentences and executions 2021

According to the newly published Global Report on death sentences and executions 2021 of Amnesty International, at least 579 executions were known to have been carried out across 18 countries last year⁠. That means a 20% increase in the recorded total compared to 2020⁠. Iran, responsible for the biggest portion of this rise, executed at least 314 people (up from at least 246 in 2020), which is the highest execution total since 2017. Saudi Arabia more than doubled its number of executions, carrying out 81 executions on the same day in March. As in previous years, the recorded global totals for death sentences and executions do not include the thousands of people that Amnesty International believes to have been sentenced to death and executed in China, as well as the extensive number of executions believed to have taken place in North Korea and Vietnam.

According to Amnesty International, lifting Covid-19 restrictions sees a surge in the number of recorded death sentences. 2,052 death sentences were handed down in 56 countries in 2021, which states a 40% increase in regard to the 2020 record. In several countries in 2021, the death penalty was used as an instrument of state repression against protestors and journalists (in Myanmar) and against minorities (particularly against religious minorities in Iran). It has also been dealt out for possession of certain types and quantities of drugs. 

Despite regression, the 2021 global execution figure represents the second-lowest figure Amnesty International has recorded since at least 2010. It has been also noticed a positive increase in the number of states that are progressively moving towards the legal abolition of the death penalty or practice of non-use despite it being provided for by national legislation.

The full text of the report (in various languages) can be found here.