Executions Triple in Africa in 2023, Reports Amnesty International

2 Min Read

Amnesty International released its annual report on the global state of the death penalty, revealing a troubling rise in executions worldwide. In 2023, 1,153 executions were recorded, marking the highest number in nearly a decade. In Africa, executions in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb more than tripled compared to 2022, although all were carried out in a single country: Somalia.

Somalia executed 38 individuals in 2023, making it the only country on the continent to implement the death penalty last year. This is a notable increase from the previous year when Somalia and South Sudan both carried out executions.

While no African country abolished the death penalty in the past year, legislative progress was made in several nations. The parliaments of Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, and Zimbabwe adopted measures aimed at moving towards abolition.

Death sentences were handed down in 14 African countries, two fewer than in 2022. However, the number of death sentences increased by 66%, reaching 494. Nigeria saw a significant rise, with death sentences tripling from 77 to 246.

Amnesty International advises caution when interpreting these figures. The increase in death sentences was also observed in Somalia and Kenya. Notably, Kenyan authorities commuted over 600 death sentences last year. This practice is gaining traction, with Zambia also commuting nearly 400 death sentences.

Globally, the number of executions reached its highest level since 2015, driven by a sharp increase in Iran. Amnesty International, based in London, recorded 1,153 executions in 2023—a more than 30% rise from 2022. This total excludes China, which does not disclose its execution figures. Additionally, 2,428 death sentences were issued worldwide, representing a 20% increase.

Iran alone accounted for 853 executions, nearly a 50% increase from 2022.


Share this Article