Amnesty International Press Release Condemns Sharp Rise in Middle East Executions, Ignores Hamas Death Sentences (JEWISH PRESS) By: Yori Yanover 03/27/12)
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According to the Amnesty International annual review of death
sentences and executions, only 10 percent of the world’s countries,
or 20 out of 198, carried out executions last year. But those
countries that did, were extremely enthusiastic about it.
You didn’t have to be a murderer to be executed in 2011. People were
executed or sentenced to death for a range of offenses including
adultery and sodomy in Iran, blasphemy in Pakistan, sorcery in Saudi
Arabia, the trafficking of human bones in the Republic of Congo, and
drugs in more than 10 countries.
At least 676 people were executed with full public disclosure
worldwide. Methods of execution in 2011 included beheading, hanging,
lethal injection and shooting.
Some 18,750 people remained under sentence of death at the end of
But, according to the report, these figures do not include the
thousands of executions that Amnesty International believes were
carried out in China, where the numbers are suppressed.
Nor do they account for the probable extent of Iran’s use of the
death penalty – Amnesty International has received credible reports
of substantial numbers of executions not officially acknowledged.
Also – at least three people were executed in Iran for crimes that
were committed when they were under age 18, in violation of
international law. Four additional, unconfirmed, executions of minors
were reported in Iran, and one in Saudi Arabia.
In the Middle East there has been a sharp rise in recorded
executions – up almost 50 per cent over the previous year.
A mere four countries tipped the balance for the entire region: Iraq
(at least 68 executions), Iran (at least 360), Saudi Arabia (at least
82) and Yemen (at least 41). These accounted for 99 per cent of all
recorded executions in the Middle East and North Africa.
The rise in Iran and Saudi Arabia alone accounted for the net
increase of 149 recorded executions across the world, compared to
But the press release which, in the end, is offering the information
news outlets around the world will be quoting, is saying nothing
about executions which took place in the Gaza strip, authorized by
the Hamas government.
One has to download the report and search for “Hamas” (skipping over
countless references to the Bahamas) to discover the statement:
“Three men were executed in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, and
at least five death sentences imposed. All executions took place in
Gaza under the Hamas de facto administration, and were carried out
without the approval of the President of the Palestinian Authority
(PA) Mahmoud Abbas as required under Palestinian law. One death
sentence was reported from the PA-controlled West Bank, but President
Abbas has refrained from approving any executions.”
Incidentally, when users check for “Palestinian Authority” in a drop-
menu on Amnesty’s website, they are sent to the message: “There is no
Amnesty International presence in this country.” This message is
followed by: “However, you can still donate to Amnesty International
or join as an International Member.”
We thought you should know…
The United States remains the only country in the Americas and the
only member of the G8 group of leading economies to execute
prisoners – 43 in 2011.
Illinois became the 16th state to abolish the death penalty. A
moratorium was announced in the state of Oregon.
Some countries are known to add the element of surprise to their
executions: in Belarus and Vietnam, prisoners were not informed of
their forthcoming execution, nor were their families or lawyers.
Showmanship was also employed in some places: public judicial
executions are known to have been carried out in North Korea, Saudi
Arabia, and Somalia, as well as in Iran.
But Secretary General of Amnesty International Salil Shetty appears
satisfied that the general trend in the area of executions of
prisoners is moving in the right direction. “The vast majority of
countries have moved away from using the death penalty,” he said,
adding, “Even among the small group of countries that executed in
2011, we can see gradual progress. These are small steps but such
incremental measures have been shown ultimately to lead to the end of
the death penalty.” (© 2012 JewishPress. 03/27/12)
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