Report: More Countries Using Death Penalty Due to Terror (Arutz Sheva)

A new report by rights group Amnesty International documents how some governments have stepped up the use of executions as part of their counterterrorism efforts. The number of death sentences recorded in 2014 jumped by almost 500 compared to 2013, mainly because of sharp spikes in Egypt and Nigeria, the group said. This included mass sentencing in both countries in the context of internal conflict and political instability. Pakistan, Cameroon, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) adopted capital punishment against terrorism, and Kenya and Russia moving to do the same. In Pakistan, the government ended a six-year moratorium on the execution of civilians after a Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar in mid-December that left at least 149 people dead, including 132 children. A fortnight later, seven people charged with terrorism had been executed and the government promised to execute hundreds more on terrorism charges. Cameroon”s legislature voted to make terrorism punishable by death in December, and an anti-terrorism law in the UAE widened the scope of the country”s death penalty to include various crimes related to terrorism. Members of Kenya”s parliament made calls for similar legislation. In Russia, four political parties introduced a draft law to the Duma asking to end the country”s moratorium on the death penalty, in place since the 1990s, in cases involving terrorism and murder. The USA continued to be the only country to put people to death in its region, although executions dropped from 39 in 2013 to 35 in 2014 – reflecting a steady decline in the use of the death penalty in the country over the past years. China again carried out more executions than the rest of the world put together. Amnesty International believes thousands are executed and sentenced to death there every year, but says that since the numbers are kept a state secret, the true figure is impossible to ascertain. The countries making up the world”s top five executioners in 2014 aside from China were Iran (289 officially announced and at least 454 more that were not), Saudi Arabia (at least 90), Iraq (at least 61) and the USA (35). In countries such as North Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia, governments continued to use the death penalty as a tool to suppress political dissent. Other states made use of capital punishment in attempts to tackle crimes rates. Jordan ended an eight-year moratorium in December, putting eleven murder convicts to death, with the government saying it was a move to end a surge in violent crime. In Indonesia, the government announced plans to execute mainly drug traffickers to tackle a public safety “national emergency.”