On 28 February, Freddy Evens, acting secretary-general of the Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs, opened the Witnesses evening of the seventh World Congress against the Death Penalty.
Biyearly, the World Congress against the Death Penalty brings together politicians, activists, lawyers, researchers and others who strive towards the abolition of the death penalty. This year, the World Congress was organized in Brussels.
The Witnesses evening took place at BOZAR, with the financial support of the Government of Flanders. Several witnesses, who have experienced or still experience the atrocities of the death penalty from nearby, brought their story. One of the testimonies came from VUB professor Ahmadreza Djalali’s wife. Professor Djalali was sentenced to death in Iran and is currently still imprisoned there.
In his opening speech, Freddy Evens emphasized that the death penalty should never be imposed, for any crime. He thanked the witnesses for their courage, and expressed hope that their moving stories will encourage all those present to keep fighting for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.
- Sabine Atlaoui, wife of Serge Atlaoui, sentenced to death in Indonesia - France (left)
- Vida Mehrannia, wife of Dr Ahmadreza Djalali, sentenced to death - Iran
Moderator: Pete Ouko, lawyer, former death row inmate - Kenya