Reprieve publishes ‘Ten myths and facts’ to mark World Day Against the Death Penalty

October 9, 2010

Reprieve is marking World Day Against the Death Penalty this Sunday 10th October by posting a list of ten popular myths about the death penalty on our website.

The list includes powerful video testimony from Reprieve lawyers and clients, and challenges persistent misconceptions including ‘Innocent people are not executed‘ and ‘The death penalty reduces crime‘.

Reprieve’s Death Penalty Director Tineke Harris will then be speaking at the launch of the British government’s Strategy for Global Abolition of the Death Penalty on Monday 11th October. The Foreign Office Minister for Human Rights Jeremy Browne will take questions from the public via Facebook. To ask your question, visit the Reprieve Facebook page or the Foreign Office Facebook page after the launch. The Minister’s answers to a selection of questions will be published later in the week.

This year’s World Day Against the Death Penalty is dedicated to the the pursuit of abolition in the USA. Last year the US joined the ranks of China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia in boasting one of the highest execution rates in the world. In 2009, 106 people were sentenced to death and 52 people were executed in the US, with the state of Texas carrying out 24 executions. However, 2009 also saw New Mexico become the 15th State to legislatively abolish the death penalty, and US executions have declined overall during the past decade. This summer Utah Governor sparked outrage by tweeting his order to execute a prisoner, while the recession has led states like Kansas to consider abolition on the grounds of cost.

Reprieve’s Director Clive Stafford Smith said:

“I have no doubt that when the history books are written 100 years hence, the fact that we were killing our fellow human beings in the name of “just punishment” will be viewed with a mixture of bemusement and horror. When we think of how our ideal society would behave, does anyone imagine it would include ritual executions? Reprieve is delighted to support the World Day Against the Death Penalty, and to join the British government in fighting executions across the world.”

Notes for Editors:

Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.

Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 33 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, working on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’


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