Amnesty International has released its annual report on executions and the death penalty and found that executions were up in 2011. The increase, accoring to the report, is largely due to the reaction of Middle Eastern states to the Arab Spring. In total there were 678 reported executions in 2011 (though Amnesty International suggests that many executions in China and Iran go unreported).
In the Middle East, there was a 50 percent increase in executions as a result of widespread use of capital punishment in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Those four countries accounted for 99 percent of all executions in the Middle East, the report said.