Reprieve is an international collective of lawyers, investigators and campaigners with an unfailing commitment to human rights and justice. Through legal action and public education, we fight for those who have suffered extreme human rights abuses at the hands of powerful governments.

Reprieve U.S. works in partnership with more than 30 lawyers and investigators at Reprieve UK, founded in 1999 by Anglo-American human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith OBE, and with Fellows in Pakistan, Yemen and around the world.

What we do

Guantánamo Bay

Reprieve U.S. represents seven prisoners in Guantánamo Bay and has freed over 70 men from wrongful detention at the facility, including juveniles like Mohammed el Gharani.  We also run a unique prisoner resettlement program, Life After Guantánamo, which helps ex-prisoners from Guantánamo to reunite with their families, access medical care, and rebuild their lives peacefully and securely.

Abuses in Counter-Terrorism

Reprieve U.S. investigates extra-judicial killing and detention around the world and reunites ‘disappeared’ prisoners with their legal rights. Our Drones Project pursues greater transparency, due process and regulation in the use of drones to kill outside of war zones. Among our clients are the al-Saadi family, anti-Gaddafi dissidents who were rendered back to Gaddafi in a joint CIA-MI6 operation when the eldest child was just 12 years old, and Faisal Bin Ali Jaber, an engineer from Yemen who is seeking justice for his brother-in-law and nephew who were killed in a U.S. drone strike.

Death Penalty

Reprieve U.S. is assisting over a number of prisoners facing the death penalty in the USA and around the world. We prioritize cases where an international influence can make all the difference. In the U.S., Reprieve’s Stop Lethal Injection Project works with pharmaceutical corporations to ensure that medicines created to cure are not used to kill. We have helped to save over 300 people from wrongful execution.

Staff

Melissa Gurumurthy, Executive Director

Melissa is Executive Director at Reprieve U.S., and brings a wealth of experience in communications around human rights and sustainability issues. She previously worked as a Senior Advisor to the Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales and Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas, and more recently as a pro bono consultant to the Women’s Refugee Commission and Purpose in New York. She trained in corporate public relations at Seal Communications and WPR in the UK. Melissa holds a B.A. in English and Italian Literature from the University of Warwick (UK) and a M.A. in International Studies: Globalization and Governance from the University of Birmingham (UK). She was a ASEAN exchange scholar in International Relations at the University of Queensland (Australia) and holds a Graduate Diploma in Law from BPP University in London.

Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, Senior Attorney (Abuses in Counter Terrorism, Guantánamo Bay)

Shelby is a Senior Staff Attorney at Reprieve U.S., working on abuses in counter-terrorism and other national security concerns. She represents several prisoners currently held without trial or charge at Guantánamo Bay, as well as multiple victims of America’s overseas targeted killing program. Shelby has previously worked as criminal defense counsel in terrorism cases being litigated in the Southern District of New York – notably, that of Nazih al Raghie (“Anas al-Liby”), a Libyan national extra-judicially rendered to the United States to stand trial for charges relating to the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. She has also worked for the Legal Aid Society (state criminal law issues), the International Rescue Committee (immigration cases), and as pre-indictment defense counsel for Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility (CLEAR), at CUNY School of Law. She holds a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island and a J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law. She is admitted in New York and to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Shelby is a Member of the American Bar Association, New York City Bar Association and National Lawyers Guild.

Mark Maher, Attorney (Death Penalty and Stop Lethal Injection Project)

Mark is a Reprieve U.S. Attorney working on capital punishment in the United States and around the world, including on Reprieve’s international Stop Lethal Injection Project. He previously worked for the Indian Law Project of Nevada Legal Services and with the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility (CLEAR) project at CUNY School of Law. He holds a B.S. in Psychology from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and a J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law.

Katie Minton, Fellow (Abuses in Counter Terrorism, Guantánamo Bay)

Katie is a Legal Fellow working on abuses in counter-terrorism and human rights issues at Reprieve U.S. She graduated from Columbia Law School in May 2017, where she was a member of the Human Rights Clinic. Katie has interned with Human Rights Watch, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU Law, and the Juvenile Immigration Unit at Legal Aid. She previously served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar, and holds a B.A. from Colby College. She is a contributing author to the report, Out of the Shadows: Recommendations to Advance Transparency in the Use of Force.

Pauline Assarsson, Fellow (Stop Lethal Injection Project)

Pauline works in the Stop Lethal Injection Project team at Reprieve U.S. She previously worked at Dentons UKMEA LLP in London, where she qualified as a UK solicitor in September 2016. Pauline holds a B.A. in Jurisprudence (English Law with Law Studies in Europe) from the University of Oxford (M.A (Oxon)), and spent an academic year at the Université Panthéon-Assas (France). She also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in International Legal Practice from the University of Law in London.

Board

Eric L. Lewis, Chairman

Eric Lewis is a leading international attorney and a partner at Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss PLLC, based in Washington D.C. Mr. Lewis practices in the areas of international insolvency, cross border disputes and serious fraud cases. An expert in offshore asset tracing and trusts, he serves as a Director of the Jersey International Business School in the Channel Islands. Mr. Lewis also represents Guantanamo and Afghan detainees in litigation, seeking redress and accountability for torture and religious abuse while in US custody. He was selected by Washington DC Super Lawyers (2007-2013) and by Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel Edition (2009) as one of “The Top Attorneys” in Business Litigation in the Washington, D.C., area. He is also featured in Who’s Who as an expert in international insolvency.

Elliott Milstein, Secretary/Treasurer

Elliott Milstein is Professor of Law at American University’s Washington College of Law, where he founded the clinical law program. Professor Milstein was president of the Association of American Law Schools in 2000, the first clinical teacher elected to that position. He was Dean of the Washington College of Law from 1988 to 1995 and served one year as interim president of American University starting in 1993. A clinical teacher since 1969, Professor Milstein has been a leader in the development of the concepts and methods that are the basis for in-house clinical education and has trained or mentored a substantial number of clinical teachers. He currently teaches in the Civil Advocacy Clinic.

Eliot Spitzer

Eliot Spitzer is a lawyer, political commentator and politician who served as the 54th Governor of New York. He previously served as New York State Attorney General, prosecuting cases relating to corporate white collar crime, securities fraud, internet fraud and environmental protection. As NY Governor, Mr. Spitzer proposed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New York and issued an executive order allowing undocumented immigrants to be issued driver’s licenses. Since leaving office, he has been a political commentator in print and on television, hosting political discussion programs for CNN and Current TV.

Esther Fein

Esther Fein is a New York Times reporter and a graduate with honors from Barnard College. She lends her considerable development and fundraising expertise, and her creativity, to Reprieve US – and hosted its launch party in October 2014. Ms Fein is also a board member of the non-profit organization, New York Collaborates for Autism.

Kim Skaggs

Kim Skaggs is a retired death penalty lawyer and longtime supporter of Reprieve U.S. Kim has a strong track record of standing up for human rights as the former Executive Director of the Equal Justice Foundation, a legal services nonprofit in Columbus, Ohio. She currently lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

Andrew Celli

Andrew Celli is a Founding Partner at Emery Celli Brinkerhoff and Abady LLP, based in New York City. He was Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau at the NY Attorney General’s office from 1999 to 2003 and is highly experienced in civil rights litigation. Andy served as a commissioner and vice-chair of the New York State Temporary Commission on Lobbying (2004-2007) and as a commissioner of the New York State Commission on Public Integrity (2007-2011). Andy also sits on the board of the Grand Street Settlement, a Lower East Side community organization, and was Board President from 2009 through 2012.

You can find more information about his work here.