Reprieve delivers justice and saves lives, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.
I have worked on death penalty cases in the USA for over 20 years, and watched 6 of my clients executed. I have had more opportunity than most to examine the implications of having the death penalty on the statute books.
The most inspiring person I have ever met is Lorilei Guillory, whose six-year-old son Jeremy was killed by my client Ricky Langley. After Ricky was sentenced to death for the murder, Lorilei decided she wanted to meet with him to better understand what had happened. They spent three hours alone together and by the end of the meeting she ...!-->
Torture, the incumbents and the 2008 presidential election.
On Monday, February 11, 2008, the military announced that six death penalty trials would go forward in Guantánamo Bay.
The media focused primarily on the wisdom of capital punishment under such circumstances: Does it not play into the hands of the alleged mastermind of 9/11 to initiate a drawn out execution process for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), when he wants to be martyred? Should the US alienate its close allies in Europe by injecting the death penalty debate into the ‘War on Terror’?
Yet the real issue was, Why now ...!-->
Clive Stafford Smith has devoted decades to saving prisoners from the death penalty. But this week he was forced to take a life - that of his beloved dog. He describes the pain of their last hours together.
Eleven-thirty is fast approaching. That is when Mel is going to die by lethal injection. I have been here before, several times in the various execution chambers of the Deep South. But this is different: Normally I can rush to find a judge for a stay of execution, or even go to the US Supreme Court. This time the final arbiter is me ...
According to legend, Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, is the oldest inhabited city on earth, established by one of the sons of Noah. Arriving at the airport, the walk down the steps from a smart Emirates jumbo jet takes me fifty years into the past, to an airport from the film Casablanca. Drive ten miles further to the cracked, 15-foot thick mud walls of the Old City of Sana’a, and the clock leaps back several centuries. Buildings cascade in two shades of brown clay, around the spice shops. In the suq, every bearded man tucks a vicious curved ...
Reprieve Fellow Frances Bourliot on how easily an incorrect identification can cause a wrongful conviction.
Greg is a soft-spoken, well-mannered, gracious young man. When we first met, he stood as I entered the booth, a sign of respect in the South that is rarely seen anymore.
All I knew about Greg before we met was that he had been convicted of a murder and sentenced to death. I knew that he had been convicted of shooting his cousin in the back for several hundred dollars and some drugs. And I knew that before this crime, he had never been in ...
The guards tried to celebrate in Guantánamo Bay, though it was not a happy place for them to spend Christmas, any more than the prisoners.
It was against regulations, but some guards appeared on the prison block with silly red hats. The prisoners were nonplussed. Many of the men from the backroads of Yemen or Afghanistan had never heard of Christmas and had no idea what these strange people were up to. Some were intrigued. No doubt some thought this was to be yet another bizarre aspect of the endless interrogation process.
The guards tried to celebrate in Guant ...
I am beginning to wonder whether someone has a sense of humour down in Guantánamo Bay. I was visiting the base recently and noticed a sign that pronounced the Task Force “value of the week”: it was Compassion. And then came the case of the contraband underpants.
I received a letter from an officer at the base suggesting that I might have smuggled some underwear into my client, the British resident Shaker Aamer. Apparently Shaker was “recently discovered to be wearing Under Armour briefs and a Speedo bathing suit.” Shaker was apparently wearing both contraband items in his cell ...
The British government’s recent announcement that it will accept five U.K. residents back home, thereby moving Guantánamo closer to closure, was welcome news.
The Bush Administration’s “secret prison” strategy has been unraveling at a rapid pace. Guantánamo Bay has been the flagship of these prisons, and it is a tribute to the resilience of American values that the ship has been sinking so fast. The British government’s recent announcement that it will accept five U.K. residents back home, thereby moving the prison closer to closure, was welcome news.
While it has always been ...
In January 2002, President George W. Bush announced the opening of the prison in Guantánamo Bay. I was horrified. I had been working for twenty years representing prisoners on Death Row in the Deep South – men, women and sometimes children who were so hated that society wanted to strap them down for execution. Yet at least each of these people had an open trial before being condemned. In Guantánamo, selected prisoners would be liable for the death penalty in specially created, substantially secret military tribunals, where torture evidence would be admissible. The rest of the prisoners, along with ...!-->
What advice could Britain's new Prime Minister offer his American counterpart?
Presumably, Gordon Brown is not going to suggest that failed leaders should resign. Failing this, Brown could present President Bush with a signed copy of his recent book, Courage, glued permanently open at page 113, where Martin Luther King states the catechism that should guide any politician: “[C]owardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ And vanity comes along and asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’”
Brown could suggest that Bush’s cowardice ...