Around 150 demonstrators got on their bikes in Brussels at around 11am on Saturday. They did a tour of all the embassies for countries where the death penalty is still allowed: China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Egypt, Pakistan and Japan. The non-governmental organisation, which is behind the cyclist demonstration, hopes the current fall in the number of executions in the world will continue.
In 2015, Madagascar, Fiji and Surinam officially abolished the death penalty. There had been no executions in these countries for more than 10 years. South Korea, Burkina Faso and Mongolia are currently heading towards the abolition of the death penalty.
However, a world without the death penalty is not yet a possibility. Indonesia had the first execution since 2013. Six people were killed by execution squad in a drugs case. Egypt and Pakistan have also reinstated the death penalty.
“The international day against the death penalty is the ideal opportunity to draw attention to the fact that the death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment. There is always a risk that an innocent person is executed as no judicial system is infallible”, says Lore Van Welden, from Amnesty International Vlaanderen. “The death penalty is not a good dissuasive with regards to crime. It has never been proven to work.”
During Saturday’s protest, a demonstrator wrote the number of executions carried out this year on a prison hood. China was once again the country with the most executions, in front of Iran and Saudi Arabia.