Death Penalty

The most dangerous time of the year

Many countries which still have the death penalty choose to ramp up executions over the holiday season, when the world is less likely to be paying attention.

Some carry out their most controversial executions – killing children, peaceful protesters, people with disabilities – during this period, hoping that the world will be too distracted to notice.

At Reprieve US, we’ll be keeping watch, but we also need to be ready to respond: to raise the alarm when people are at risk, investigate abuses, and take action.

Can you donate to make sure we’re ready? Right now, our Chairman is generously matching all donations to Reprieve US, up to $50,000 – so if you make a gift, you can be sure that your money will have twice the impact. 

Just before Christmas in 2014, Pakistan announced it would reinstate the death penalty. The executions came thick and fast, and we worked night and day to stem the tide. We are still fighting that battle.

Over the 2015 Christmas break, we received word of Saudi Arabia’s plans to execute dozens of people at once – including peaceful protesters. A few days later, on January 2nd, 47 people were killed in the biggest mass execution for decades.

Three people were spared that day in Saudi Arabia. Ali, Dawood and Abdullah –  who were sentenced to death for attending protests when they were children – weren’t executed. Our work on their cases has helped keep them alive, safe from the Saudi executioner’s sword.

But the fight is not over. Ali, Dawood and Abdullah could still be executed at any moment, along with several other young men arrested and sentenced to beheading for attending peaceful protests.  Our team is working hard to help keep them alive – by investigating their cases, exposing the abuses they’ve suffered, and calling loudly and clearly for them to be saved.

That’s why we’ll be on call over the holidays. For some of the most vulnerable people in the world, we’re the last hope.

Can you help us stay prepared and ready to respond when we need to?

Clive Stafford Smith

Author Clive Stafford Smith

Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve UK and Reprieve US.
Clive oversees Reprieve US’s casework program, as well as the direct representation of prisoners in Guantánamo Bay and on death row as a Louisiana licensed attorney at law.

More posts by Clive Stafford Smith