UK ended executions 50 years ago today – Reprieve comment

November 9, 2015

Image of a shadow of a noose hanging on a cracked wall

Commenting on the 50th anniversary of the abolition of the death penalty in Britain, Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said:

“50 years of abolition is something to be proud of – but we must not let the progress we have made as a nation in the last half century be reversed by our current government, which has presided over a series of changes that undermine Britain’s commitment to human rights. The Foreign Office has recently scrapped its death penalty abolition strategy, and removed ‘countries of concern’ like Saudi Arabia and China from its annual human rights reports.


“David Cameron is now openly prioritizing trade over human rights – even bidding for business with the Saudi prisons system, which would oversee the planned ‘crucifixion’ of young protestor Ali al Nimr. Britain used to be a leader when it came to opposition to the death penalty – we must not allow this government to put us in bed with the hangman.”


Notes to editors

1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on: communications [at] / +44 (0) 207 553 8140. Reprieve US, based in New York City, can be contacted on: katherine [dot] oshea [at] / +1 917 855 8064.