[JURIST] The Interior Ministry of Jordan announced [press release, in Arabic] 11 men were executed by hanging on Sunday, which marks the first time Jordanian authorities delivered capital punishment in eight years. The authorities convicted the men of murder between 2005-2006. All of the men were Jordanians. Since the most recent execution in mid-2006, King Abdullah II did not sign any execution orders, even as prisoners received death sentences. Abdullah stated in 2005 that potential changes to Jordan’s penal code may eradicate the death penalty, and the international community urged Jordan to discontinue a regime that includes capital punishment. Human Rights Watch (HRW) noted Jordan’s eight year de facto moratorium on the death penalty served as a symbol of progress [HRW report] in the Middle East, where the practice is widely used [Guardian report] in neighboring countries such as Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The Jordanian Cabinet formed a committee [Jordan Times report] to examine whether to reinstate executions in early November. The committee made no announcements prior to Sunday’s executions. The Jordanian government stated that members of the general public have blamed [BBC news report] a recent increase of crime in Jordan for the non-application of capital punishment.
The death penalty [JURIST news archive] has been a controversial issue worldwide. In October UN officials called on the government of Iraq [JURIST report] to impose a moratorium on the death penalty in response to a significant increase in executions since restoration of capital punishment in 2005. Earlier in October the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHCHR) urged the international abolition of the death penalty [JURIST report]. In September two experts from the OHCHR encouraged [JURIST report] Saudi Arabia to implement an immediate moratorium on the death penalty following an increase in executions, with a significant number of the executions completed by beheading. In July Italian advocacy group Hands off Cain [advocacy website] released a report [JURIST report] claiming the number of deaths by capital punishment increased despite a global trend away from the practice. The organization reports that there are currently 161 countries and territories that, to different extents, have renounced the death penalty, and 37 countries continue to use capital punishment.