Reprieve (organisation)

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Reprieve is a nonprofit organization of international lawyers and investigators whose stated goal is to "fight for the victims of extreme human rights abuses with legal action and public education". Their main focus is on the death penalty, indefinite detention without trial (such as in Guantanamo), extraordinary rendition and extrajudicial killing.[1] The founding Reprieve organization is in the UK, and there are also organizations in the United States, Australia and the Netherlands, with additional supporters and volunteers worldwide.

Reprieve UK[edit]

The first and largest of the Reprieve organizations, Reprieve UK, was founded in 1999, one year after the death penalty was officially abolished in the UK (although having not been exercised since 1964), by human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith.[2] Smith has represented over 300 prisoners facing the death penalty in the southern United States and has helped secure the release of 65 Guantánamo Bay prisoners as well as others across the world detained in places such as Bagram Theatre Internment Facility, Afghanistan, who claim to have been tortured[3] by the United States government.

Reprieve currently works to represent 15 prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, as well as an evolving caseload of death row clients around the world. It investigates international complicity in renditions[4] and most recently, has started working with the Foundation for Fundamental Rights[5] in Pakistan, aiming to create conversation around the use of drones there.[6][7] In 2021, Reprieve UK compiled information on the effects of U.S. drone strikes and counterterrorism actions in order to file a petition and witness statement on behalf of 34 Yemenis at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.[8] Reprieve focused its collaborative petition on the human rights consequences of U.S. drone strikes that killed multiple civilians, including "nine children and several members of Yemen's military".[8]

Reprieve UK has twenty-five staff in London and seven Fellows in the US and Pakistan. Its patrons include Martha Lane Fox, Jon Snow, Alan Bennett, Julie Christie[citation needed] and Roger Waters.[9]

Current cases include Andy Tsege,[10] Ali al Nimr,[11] Libya's Sami al-Saadi,[12][13] stateless Palestinian Abu Zubaydah,[14] Linda Carty,[15] Yunus Rahmatullah,[16] Krishna Maharaj,[17] and Malik Jalal.[18]

Recent cases include Samantha Orobator,[19] Binyam Mohamed,[20] Muhammad Saad Iqbal,[21] and Akmal Shaikh,[22] an EU national executed by the Chinese government.

Reprieve US[edit]

Reprieve US was founded in 2001 by anti-death penalty lawyers in New Orleans, Louisiana, as a 501(c)(3) charitable legal defense organization, inspired by Reprieve UK. In 2014 Reprieve US opened headquarters in New York City, and began working on unlawful detention and targeted killing as well as death penalty cases. Reprieve US is an independent sister organization to Reprieve UK; the two organizations share the same mission and work in partnership.

Reprieve US has strongly opposed the Guantanamo Bay detention camp since its founding, and legally represents several of its detainees. They also have a profile on many of its prisoners.[23]

Capital Punishment Justice Project[edit]

The Capital Punishment Justice Project (formerly Reprieve Australia) was founded in Melbourne in 2001 by criminal barristers Richard Bourke and Nick Harrington to provide legal representation and humanitarian assistance to those at risk of execution. Initially providing volunteer assistance to programs in the US, the CPJP has since expanded to Asia. The organization is currently led by Julian McMahon.[24]


  1. ^ Ackerman, Spencer (24 November 2014). "41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed: US drone strikes – the facts on the ground". the Guardian. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  2. ^ Visionaries for a just and peaceful world. Visions of the Future: six stories. "Clive Stafford Smith : bringing the rule of law back to Guantanamo Bay". Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. 1904 – 2004 Centennial Projects.
  3. ^ Terror suspects held illegally' in Afghanistan prison named by charity. By Richard Norton-Taylor. The Guardian, 15 April 2010.
  4. ^ Rendition on Record. By Crofton Black and Lydia Medland. Reprieve/Access Info Europe, 19 December 2011.
  5. ^ "Rights Advocacy". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  6. ^ High court rejects first UK challenge to CIA’s drone campaign. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. By Alice K Ross. 22 December 2012.
  7. ^ UK: Hearing into CIA drones would dent US ties . By David Stringer. The Huffington Post. 25 October 2012.
  8. ^ a b "In a first, Yemenis seek redress for U.S. drone strikes at Inter-American rights body". Reprieve. 17 January 2021. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  9. ^ Youngs, Ian (24 January 2019). "Pink Floyd star plans more Syrian rescues". BBC. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Andy Tsege: A British father of three on death row in Ethiopia". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Ali al-Nimr - Reprieve". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  12. ^ Government pays Libyan dissident's family £2.2m over MI6-aided rendition. Sami al-Saadi, wife and four children were secretly flown from Hong Kong to Tripoli where he was tortured by Gaddafi police. By Richard Norton-Taylor. The Guardian, 13 December 2012
  13. ^ "The al Saadi family". Reprieve. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  14. ^ Case Abu Zubaydah
  15. ^ "Linda Carty". Reprieve. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  16. ^ Foreign Secretary v Rahmatullah: Reprieve's dodgy press release, by Carl Gardner. Head of legal, 6 November 2012]
  17. ^ Krishna Maharaj, Jailed Briton, Appeals Murder Conviction Claiming He Was Framed By Miami Police Reuters / The Huffington Post, 20 December 2012.
  18. ^ "Malik Jalal - FAQs - 38 Degrees". 18 April 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  19. ^ British woman could face Laos death penalty. CNN, 4 May 2009.
  20. ^ Guantanamo inmate sues US company. A British resident held by the US is suing a company for allegedly organizing flights that took him to Guantanamo Bay. BBC, 4 June 2007.
  21. ^ Complaint over British role in extraordinary rendition. MP demands information on role in secret US flights. Human rights group calls for detainees to be named. By Duncan Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor. The Guardian, 3 June 2008.
  22. ^ "Akmal Shaikh, mentally ill British national who has been sentenced to death in China, will today plead for his life in court". Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  23. ^ Guantanamo Bay, Reprieve
  24. ^ "About Us". Capital Punishment Justice Project. Capital Punishment Justice Project. Retrieved 24 October 2019.

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