Saudi Arabia executed 'record number' of people in 2019 despite reform drive: Amnesty
Reprieve, a UK organisation against capital punishment and the Berlin-based European-Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR) said six of the 37 men killed were children at the time of their alleged offences.
"For all the rhetoric of reform and modernisation, Saudi Arabia is still a country where speaking out against the King can get you killed," said Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve in a statement.Excluding China, the world's leading executioner, Amnesty found that 86 percent of all reported executions took place in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Egypt.
The Middle East and North Africa region has seen a 16 percent increase in the number of executions, from 501 in 2018 to 579 in 2019, owing the trend to a sharp increase in the use of the death penalty in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, according to Amnesty.
Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq accounted for 92 percent of the total number of recorded executions in the region.
Executions in Iran diminished slightly from at least 253 in 2018 to at least 251 in 2019, while executions in Iraq almost doubled from at least 53 in 2018 to at least 100 in 2019.
Amnesty found Egypt imposed the most confirmed death sentences in the region last year with at least 435 cases, though the number fell from 2018, which saw at least 717 people sentenced to death.
After a hiatus in 2018, Bahrain resumed executions last year, Amnesty said.
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