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  1. Death row - table through window

    Japan carries out first executions in a year

    Eliana Zur-Szpiro on 28 July 2010

    Today Japan hanged two people, in its first executions since the Democratic Party of Japan took power last September.

    Justice Minister Keiko Chiba, a former member of the Japan Parliamentary League against the Death Penalty, has asked for a review of the death penalty at the justice ministry. This would be a welcome move - regardless of the fact that the death penalty itself is regarded as a violation of human rights in Europe (as laid down by Protocol 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights), there are a number of additional concerns surrounding Japan’s policy of capital punishment ...

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  2. Death row - cell

    China may review death penalty law

    Emma Draper on 26 July 2010

    China may reduce the number of crimes attracting the death penalty, but will revised legislation make a significant difference to sky-high execution rates?

    The precise number of executions carried out each year in China is a state secret, but is estimated to number in the thousands. Crimes currently deemed serious enough to merit a sentence of death by shooting or lethal injection include stealing historical relics, tax fraud, and receiving bribes. In total, there are 68 capital offences.

    However, reports in the Chinese and Western media over the past few days have suggested that the state may soon adjust its ...

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  3. Death row - cell

    Trinidad and Tobago may resume executions imminently

    Emma Draper on 22 July 2010

    Yesterday a letter was sent to Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, expressing the signatories’ concern and dismay at the new government’s recent announcement that it will imminently resume execution of its death row prisoners.

    It was signed by, among others, Reprieve, Amicus, the Bar Human Rights Committee and the Law Society.

    No execution has been carried out in Trinidad and Tobago since 1999, but the country’s new administration seems to feel that a strong pro-death penalty stance will prove a popular response to high and rising rates of intentional homicide and other violent crime ...

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  4. Marc Callcutt BW

    Pakistani Torture Project has lift off!

    Marc Callcutt on 22 July 2010

    Last week, the Pakistan Police Torture Team officially moved in to our new Birmingham offices, set in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter (which certainly lives up to its name) in the city centre.

    This will now be our base as we try to identify and take witness statements of those British Pakistanis that have suffered abuse at the hands of the police over in Pakistan.

    Setting up the office marks the start of the project, and it has now been exponentially transformed from a dusty storage unit into a fully-fledged professional office. The excitement of a new office complete ...

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  5. Clare Algar BW

    The torture inquiry: justice must be seen to be done

    Clare Algar on 21 July 2010

    Reprieve has challenged the appointment of Sir Peter Gibson as the Chair of the forthcoming inquiry into complicity in torture on the part of the intelligence services. I want to make the reasons for this very clear.

    We are certainly not saying that Sir Peter is not an excellent and very senior judge. We do not want to launch any sort of personal attack on him. However, we do feel that, for a number of reasons, it is not appropriate for him to chair the inquiry.

    When Prime Minister David Cameron launched the inquiry, he said that it was in ...

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  6. Map of Britain

    Letter calling on Sir Peter Gibson to stand down as torture inquiry judge

    Clive Stafford Smith on 20 July 2010

    This is the text of Reprieve's letter to Sir Peter Gibson, asking him to reconsider his position. The fully referenced letter is attached below.

    July 19, 2010

    Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Gibson
    The Intelligence Services Commissioner
    c/o 2 Marsham Street
    London SW1P 4DF

    Re: Torture Inquiry - Recusal

    Dear Sir Peter:

    I am, naturally, very glad that there is to be an inquiry into the complicity of Britain in torture. However, if the inquiry is to achieve its stated goals – including ridding Britain of the stain that has blemished our reputation – it is essential that the procedure used is ...

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  7. Cori Crider BW

    Why the Algerians must win their fight to stay in Guantánamo Bay

    Cori Crider on 16 July 2010

    I hope media and courtroom flurries this week have reminded readers of a man the US government would rather they forget: my Guantanamo client and Algerian refugee Ahmed Belbacha.

    As reported by the Washington Post, Ahmed and five other Algerians in Guantánamo Bay are deadlocked in a fight to stay there. Peter Finn reports that, while the Obama Administration would send these men home tomorrow, the prisoners are terrified to go, and are willing to wait in Guantánamo until a safe home can be found.

    The issue is being fought out in the Supreme Court as I write this. If ...

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  8. Katherine O'Shea BW

    Shabbir Zaib talks about being falsely accused of murdering his wife - and how it feels to be free

    Katherine O'Shea on 16 July 2010

    Reprieve's client Shabbir Zaib was acquitted in February after 17 months in a Pakistani prison.

    In this interview with Scotland's Daily Record, he talks about how he came to be imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, and how it feels to be back home in Glasgow.

    Shabbir, pictured here with Reprieve lawyer Marc Callcutt, has been helping with Reprieve's Pakistan Police Torture Project.

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  9. Clive Stafford Smith by I.Robins BW

    Clive Stafford Smith takes over Litweeter

    Clive Stafford Smith on 12 July 2010

    To commemorate the anniversary of Ruth Ellis's execution, I will be tweeting live at the Litweeter Festival – part of the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre – at 2.30 afternoon.

    Today is the 55th anniversary of the death of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in Britain. Ruth’s case provoked widespread public outrage – over 50,000 people signed a petition for clemency – and is now considered a pivotal moment in the campaign for the abolition of the death penalty in the UK. In 1965 the Murder (Abolition of the Death Penalty) Act suspended the death ...

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  10. Linda Carty

    Help for Linda Carty unlikely to come from International Court of Justice

    Emma Draper on 09 July 2010

    On Thursday 8th July, Lord Faulkner asked the government in the House of Lords what representations had been made to US authorities about reprieving Linda Carty.

    Baroness Neville-Jones, the Minister of State for Security, responded that the Lib-Con coalition was as staunchly opposed to the death penalty as its predecessor, and that the government is “committed to using all appropriate influence to prevent the execution of any British national”.

    Lord Thomas of Gresford, a Liberal Democrat, then put three very interesting questions to the Minister:

    “Is the Minister aware that Mexico and Germany took the United States to the International ...

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