DRUG OFFENCE EXECUTIONS MORE THAN HALVE IN 2018 AFTER IRAN REFORM
February 26, 2019:
Human rights experts have hailed a sharp drop in executions for drug offences in 2018, even as they expressed worries over a large number of people worldwide still facing the death penalty for non-violent drug crimes.In a new report on 26 February 2019, Harm Reduction International (HRI) said it documented 91 executions for drug crimes last year, compared with 288 in 2017 - a 68 percent drop largely driven by fewer deaths in Iran following drug law reforms.It is the first time the number of executions - which excludes China and Vietnam - has fallen below 100 since the London-based NGO started compiling figures in 2007. (Sources: aljazeera.com, 26/02/2019)
But the annual report warned that at least 7,000 people across the world are on death row for drug offences and that populist governments advocating the use of capital punishment as a key plank of drug control policy could undermine global progress towards abolition.The annual report said four countries carried out the death penalty for drug offences last year - Saudi Arabia, Iran, Singapore and China.
HRI said Saudi Arabia was responsible for the highest number of such executions, sending at least 59 people to their deaths. Iran followed with 23 people, followed by Singapore, where nine people were executed.
China continued to use capital punishment in relation to drug crimes.
The report did not provide a specific figure because the number of confirmed executions is likely to be an underestimate in a country where death penalty statistics are a state secret.