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Report Overview

Death Penalty in 2022: Facts and Figures

Global figures

"Country names listed reflect nomenclature in May 2023" and “This map indicates the general locations of boundaries and jurisdictions and should not be interpreted as Amnesty International’s view on disputed territories”.

Global executions

Amnesty International recorded 883 executions in 20 countries in 2022, marking a 53% increase from 579 recorded in 2021. This figure represents the highest number of executions that Amnesty International has recorded in the past five years (since 2017, when 993 executions were recorded).

China remained the world’s leading executioner, but the true extent of the use of the death penalty in this country remains unknown as this data remains classified as a state secret. The global figure recorded by Amnesty International excludes the thousands of executions believed to have been carried out in China, as well as those carried out in Viet Nam and North Korea where Amnesty International believes the death penalty was resorted to extensively.

Most known executions took place in China (1000s), Iran (at least 576) Saudi Arabia (196), Egypt (24), and the USA (18).

In 2022, 93% of known global executions (excluding China) were carried out in the Middle East and North Africa.

The 196 executions recorded in Saudi Arabia were the highest yearly total known for this country in 30 years.

A total of 13 women were known to have been executed in the world: Iran (12) and Saudi Arabia (1).

Amnesty International recorded executions in 20 countries, compared to 18 countries in 2021.

Violating international law

325 executions were recorded for drug-related offences: 255 in Iran; 57 in Saudi Arabia; 11 in Singapore; and in China (+). In calculating the global total of executions carried out for drug-related offences, two were counted for China in accordance with Amnesty International’s research methodology.

At least 3 public executions were recorded in Afghanistan (1+) and Iran (2).

In Iran, at least 5 people were executed for crimes that occurred when they were below 18 years of age.

Resuming executions

Executions resumed in five countries: Afghanistan, Kuwait, Myanmar, Palestine (State of) and Singapore.

Botswana, UAE and Oman carried out executions in 2021, but did not do so in 2022.

The following methods of execution were used in 2022: beheading, hanging, lethal injection and shooting.

Global death sentences

At least 2,016 new death sentences across 52 countries were imposed in 2022, compared to at least 2,052 in 56 countries in 2021.

Amnesty International recorded commutations or pardons of death sentences in 26 countries.

Five countries — Bahrain, Comoros, Laos, Niger and South Korea — handed down death sentences after a hiatus.

Amnesty International recorded at least 28 exonerations of prisoners who had been sentenced to death in four countries: Kenya (20), Morocco/Western Sahara (1), the USA (2), and Zimbabwe (5).

Globally, at least 28,282 people were under sentence of death at the end of 2022.

Abolishing the death penalty

Six countries abolished the death penalty either fully (Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, and the Central African Republic) or partially (Equatorial Guinea and Zambia, who abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes only) in 2022.

At the end of 2022, 112 countries were abolitionist for all crimes, while 9 were abolitionist for ordinary crimes only

Regional Analysis


For the 14th consecutive year, the USA remained the only country in the region to carry out executions.

The number of executions carried out in the USA increased by 64%, rising from 11 in 2021 to 18 in 2022. 

Outgoing Governor of Oregon Kate Brown commuted all remaining death sentences in the state.

For the sixth consecutive year, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA were the only countries in the region that imposed new death sentences.


In Asia-Pacific, eight countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Japan, Myanmar, North Korea, Singapore and Viet Nam) are known to have carried out executions in 2022, an increase from five in 2021.

The number of new death sentences recorded regionally increased by 5% from 819 in 2021 to 861 in 2022.

Military authorities carried out the first executions in Myanmar in four decades, including the execution of two high-profile opposition politicians.

Executions also resumed after a hiatus in Afghanistan and Singapore.

Papua New Guinea became the 21st country in the Asia-Pacific region to abolish the death penalty for all crimes.

Europe and Central Asia

Belarus carried out one execution in 2022. It was the only country in Europe and Central Asia to do so.

Kazakhstan abolished the death penalty for all crimes and ratified a key UN treaty on abolition.

Russia and Tajikistan continued to observe moratoriums on executions.

The Middle East and North Africa

The number of executions recorded in the Middle East and North Africa region increased by 59%, rising from 520 in 2021 to 825 in 2022.

94% of executions recorded in the region were carried out in Iran (70%) and Saudi Arabia (24%).

Executions resumed in Kuwait and the State of Palestine for the first time since 2017.

Recorded death sentences in the region decreased slightly from 834 in 2021 to 827 in 2022. Death sentences were imposed in 16 countries in 2022, compared to 17 in 2021.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Recorded executions in the region decreased by 67%, from 33 in 2021 to 11 in 2022.

The only known executions were recorded in Somalia and South Sudan

Recorded death sentences fell by 20%, from 373 in 2021 to 298 in 2022. 

Death sentences were recorded in 16 countries in 2022, compared to 19 in 2021. 

Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic abolished the death penalty for all crimes, while Equatorial Guinea and Zambia abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes only.


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