At least 883 people are known to have been put to death last year, according to Amnesty International’s annual review of the death penalty. However, the true number is likely far higher, as several countries do not publish accurate figures - including North Korea, Vietnam and Belarus. In China, where numbers remain a state secret, thousands of people are believed to be executed and sentenced to death each year.
As our chart shows, Iran comes second only after China with at least 576 people known to have been executed in 2022, up 55 percent from the year. The crimes behind these executions are mostly related to drugs and murder, while 18 were for moharebeh (enmity against God), which can be connected to the protests surrounding the death of Mahsa Amini. Amnesty International notes that Saudi Arabia also saw a significant increase in death sentences since 2020, rising from 27 to a record high of 196 deaths, 83 of whom were executed for terrorism-related crimes. In total, 55 countries still have the death penalty, 20 of which recorded executions in 2022.
In the U.S., 18 executions were recorded in 2022 across six jurisdictions. These were Alabama (2), Arizona (3), Mississippi (1), Missouri (2), Oklahoma (5), and Texas (5). Meanwhile, there were 21 new death sentences recorded across 12 states. These included: Alabama (3), Arizona (1), California (2), Florida (5), Georgia (1), Louisiana (1), Mississippi (1), Missouri (1), North Carolina (2), Oklahoma (1), Pennsylvania (1) and Texas (2).
It is worth noting that while 2021 saw a 20 percent increase from the year before, both years represented the lowest number of executions since Amnesty International’s records began back in 2010. This lull, likely due to executions being put on hold because of the pandemic, seems to over, with the figures reaching their highest point since 2017.