Iranian serial child killer Mohammad Bijeh is publicly hanged in Pakdasht, a town south of Tehran on March 16, 2005. Bijeh, 30, was sentenced to death for killing 17 children, most of them young boys who he had first raped. Many of the victims were from illegal Afghan refugee families who did not report the missing children. (UPI Photo/Mohammad Rezaei) | License Photo
WASHINGTON, March 28 (UPI) -- Iran leads the way in the "worrying upsurge" in the number of executions in the Middle East and Asia, Amnesty International claims.
The United Nations last week voted to appoint a special human rights envoy to monitor the situation in Iran. Amnesty International said Iran carried out 252 executions in 2010, compared with 18 in Libya.
"Iran, Libya and Yemen experienced a worrying upsurge in executions … and there are fears of mass executions in Libya as the (current) conflict there deepens," the watchdog group added.
U.S. Ambassador Eileen Donahoe in a statement last week said Washington was "gravely concerned" about deteriorating human rights conditions in Iran. She said the situation in Iran since September "had worsened" amid reports of "acts of torture carried out by the government of the Islamic republic of Iran and death sentences of men and women by stoning."
Amnesty International said in many countries, executions are carried out following "unfair" trials and for relatively minor offenses like drug-trafficking or adultery.
The watchdog group said more than 30 countries moved against capital punishment during the past 10 years, though Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the United States and China carried out the most executions, often "in direct contradiction of international human rights law."