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  1. Emmanuelle Purdon 2009 BW

    Lawyer's attempt to keep his head above water landed a client on death row

    Emmanuelle Purdon on 23 March 2011

    Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman needed a really good lawyer. Prosecutors claimed to have a mountain of physical evidence and powerful eyewitness testimony against him in a murder case. And they were seeking the death penalty.

    Cellmates at the Nashville jail where Abdur'Rahman was being held told him there was only one lawyer to call: Lionel Barrett.

    Barrett, they said, never turned down a client in need, no matter how controversial the case was, how bad the facts were and how impossible the defense seemed.

    "I never said no," Barrett confirms. "I took cases no one else would. Everyone deserves representation ...

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  2. Chai Patel

    Why North Carolina hasn’t scheduled an execution since 2006

    Chaitanya Patel on 23 March 2011

    In North Carolina the state Supreme Court was recently asked to consider whether or not a judge was correct to order state officials to revamp the protocol for executions in that state.

    Assistant Attorney General Joe Finarelli has argued that the judge had no right to do so because the Department of Corrections was exempt from the state law governing review of administrative procedures.

    Litigation about the protocol and about physician participation in executions has stopped executions in the state since 2006. If the state Supreme Court agrees, the case will go back to a lower court to review and ...

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  3. Katherine O'Shea BW

    Send a book to Linda Carty in Texas

    Katherine O'Shea on 17 March 2011

    Linda Carty is a British grandmother facing execution. She loves to read and was very pleased to receive books from Reprieve supporters when we posted a 'wish list' on our website earlier this year

    If anyone would like to send a book, please do send a title of your choice. Please note that books must be ordered at Amazon as this is the only way the prison will accept them in the post.

    Books should be sent to:

    Linda Carty, # 999406, Mountainview Unit, 2305 Ransom Rd, Gatesville, Texas 76528, USA

    Linda also welcomes supportive letters, which must include a return ...

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  4. Ghada Eldemellawy

    Riot in Sana'a Central Prison

    Ghada Eldemellawy on 16 March 2011

    The Middle East domino effect reached Yemen in late January this year when the Yemeni people took to the streets of the capital Sana'a and demanded an end of a decades-long totalitarian regime. With the uprising escalating, Reprieve client Sharif Mobley watched similar unrest unfold within Sana'a Central Prison.

    Reporting from within the robust walls of the interment facility - an enormous and imposing building that had me awestruck the first time I visted - Sharif spoke of how on March 7th, around Maghreb prayer time, the prisoners stood in solidarity with their free fellow comrades. They flocked to the ...

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  5. Taiwan's regret for wrongful execution

    Khalia Newell on 15 March 2011

    Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou and the Ministry of National Defense (MND) have formally apologised to the family of former air force private Chiang Kuo-ching for their son's wrongful execution. 

    Kuo-ching was wrongfully executed for the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl in the R.O.C. Air Force Command Headquarters in Taipei in September 1996. The Air Force team allegedly tortured Chiang Kuo-ching continuously for 37 hours before he finally signed a confession for the crime that the Taipei District Prosecutors Office has now said he never committed.

    The family’s lawyer Huang Ta-yuan, who has worked consistently ...

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  6. Chai Patel

    Former White House legal adviser calls for US to comply with international legal obligations

    Chaitanya Patel on 10 March 2011

    John B. Bellinger III has spoken out on the need for the US to comply with the International Court of Justice’s ruling on its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

    In an opinion piece in the Washington Post the former member of the Bush administration called for legislators, both Republican and Democrat, to authorise the President to review the sentences of 51 Mexicans whose right to consular access had been breached. These individuals were tried and sentenced without being given, or even being informed of their right to, the assistance of a consul from their native country ...

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  7. Generic - light bulb in dingy corridor

    Humanitarianism or housekeeping?: China's recent amendments to death penalty law

    Khalia Newell on 01 March 2011

    A recent change in Chinese legislation has removed 13 nonviolent economic offences from the list of 68 crimes punishable by death, and banned capital punishment for offenders over 75.

    According to the official Xinhua News Agency, this is the first time the Communist government has reduced the number of crimes subject to the death penalty since 1979. The newly revised list of sanctions will come into effect on 1st May this year.

    However, it is debatable whether this step represents a genuine shift towards a more humanitarian approach in China or mere ‘housekeeping’ – the application of the death penalty to ...

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  8. Owen Watkins

    Reprieve at the Vodafone World of Difference induction day

    Owen Watkins on 01 March 2011

    Afshaan, Nawaz and Owen of the Pakistan Police Torture Project, as well as Khalia and Paul from Reprieve’s London office, attended yesterday to receive their goodies for each winning individual grants for their work with Reprieve.

    The event took place in the former Bird’s Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham, and was attended by TV star Gok Wan and successful social entrepreneurs Simon Weston and Anne-Marie Huby. The five Reprievers (Maya from the London office also won but was sadly unable to attend) had a great time meeting the other World fo Difference winners. The day involved great advice ...

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  9. ECJ ruling on car insurance strikes a crucial blow for true equality

    Clive Stafford Smith on 01 March 2011

    The latest ruling by the European Court of Justice requiring that Britain’s insurance industry phase out discrimination on the basis of gender has provoked the predictable “fog-in-the-channel-Continent-cut-off” calls for withdrawal from Europe.

    Rather, we should be asking ourselves when we will become sufficiently mature to accept a judiciary that is empowered to give effect to basic, fundamental rights. It would, for example, be pointless for Britain to have a constitution of its own if there were no way to enforce it: without a remedy, there is no right.

    For anyone attuned to equal justice, the ECJ ruling was an ...

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  10. Chai Patel

    Will the Netherlands sue Iran for failure to allow consular access to prisoners?

    Chaitanya Patel on 28 February 2011

    After the execution of dual Dutch-Iranian national Zahra Bahrami, the Dutch government is looking to international law for a remedy, and to prevent the same mistakes being made in the future.

    On the 29th January 2011 Iran executed Zahra Bahrami by hanging. During her trial and imprisonment she was denied access to Dutch consular officials, despite being a dual Dutch-Iranian citizen. The execution was carried out while Dutch officials were being assured the trial was still ongoing. We have discussed the circumstances surrounding her trial and execution previously on this blog. Four more Dutch-Iranian citizens are facing possible execution in ...

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