Mideast executions boost 2011 global toll

Mideast executions boost 2011 global toll

A surge of executions last year in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen pushed the worldwide total higher than the year before, the global anti-death penalty group Amnesty International announced on March 26.

The United States, the only G-8 nation to employ the death penalty last year and remains near the top of the global list of nations carrying out executions, ranked fifth, according to the Associated Press. Although the global rate of executions has declined by about a third in the past decade, to 676 documented worldwide in 2011, some 18,750 people remained on death row at the end of the year in 20 nations, Amnesty International said in its annual review of worldwide trends.

Uighur sentenced to death

China executes thousands of people annually, many more than the rest of the world put together. Iran executed at least 360 people, many of them under harsh new anti-drug laws introduced last year. Iraq executed 68 people, Amnesty found. Saudi Arabia executed at least 82; and Yemen executed at least 41. Meanwhile, a Uighur man accused by the Chinese government of being the mastermind behind deadly attacks in the far western region of Xinjiang in February has been sentenced to death, authorities said late on March 26, Reuters reported. Attackers wielding knives killed 13 people in Yecheng County near Kashgar, that has been beset by tension between the Uighur people and Han Chinese.

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