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  1. Generic - cell exterior small window

    Holly Wood to become the latest victim of Alabama's underfunded justice system

    Emma Draper on 05 July 2010

    Last week the Alabama Supreme Court set an execution date for Holly Wood, a man who was convicted of killing his former girlfriend Ruby Lois Gosha in 1993 and sentenced to death, despite the fact that he has an approximate IQ of 59 – the score for a person of normal intelligence is around 100.

    In federal court, the judge threw out the death sentence on the basis that Wood’s lawyer had failed to tell jurors of his client’s serious mental impairment. The Alabama justice system is severely underfunded and only $1,000 was allotted to Wood's defence ...

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  2. Katherine O'Shea BW

    Send a book to Linda Carty

    Katherine O'Shea on 05 July 2010

    • Linda Carty is an avid reader and has sent us a list of books she would like to read, so we've published the list below in case any of our supporters would like to send her one.

    If you do send one of the books listed below, please let us know (either leave a note on our facebook wall or send a quick mail to as we will take the title off the list. You are of course  welcome to send off-list books too!

    The catch is, the prison will not accept media sent from ...

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  3. Tim Cooke Hurle BW

    A great week for Reprieve's fight against UK complicity in torture

    Tim Cooke-Hurle on 02 July 2010

    Two of Reprieve’s toughest projects have turned a corner this week: our court battle over torture policy, and our call for a full public inquiry into allegations of complicity in torture by the British secret services.

    On Monday, Reprieve’s ‘torture policy’ litigation forced the Coalition government to commit to creating new guidelines for British secret agents.

     In our application for judicial review, we told the court why current secret guidelines may have allowed our secret services to be complicit in the torture of prisoners abroad. We asked the judge to review the official policy; regulating how MI5/MI6 ...

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  4. Marc Callcutt BW

    Disturbing testimony from Pakistan Police Torture Project

    Marc Callcutt on 23 June 2010

    As part of our exciting new project, Reprieve is now gathering evidence of police torture in Pakistan to create a record which the Pakistani authorities can no longer ignore.

    This is the anonymous testimony of a victim of torture at Dadyal Police Station - a typical story:

    “The policemen would take it in turns, beating us for about 10 minutes, and then those policemen would leave and more policemen would come in and just carry on beating us.

    One beat me and then another beat me. They had sticks – like broom handles, about an inch thick, and bamboo canes. They would ...

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  5. Clemency wells by E.Purdon BW

    Resurrection After Exoneration

    Clemency Wells on 22 June 2010

    In a small, chic art gallery in the French Quarter of New Orleans, three men stood on Saturday evening in front of a well-dressed, well-heeled crowd and told their stories. 

    Greg Bright, tall, chiseled and imposing, Albert Burrell who with his cowboy hat, bolo tie and syrup-thick accent seemed to embody Texas and John "JT" Thompson, bespectacled, enthusiastic and articulate.

    John Thompson spent fourteen years on death row in Louisiana's infamous Angola penitentiary, for a crime he did not commit, and lived to tell the tale. Now on top of that great achievement he lives for telling his tale ...

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  6. Death row - cell

    Ronnie Lee Gardner, death by firing squad

    Laura Maisey on 19 June 2010

    Three minutes past midnight on June 18, Ronnie Lee Gardner was declared dead by a doctor. He was executed by a firing squad for a crime committed 25 years ago. His execution was ‘tweeted’ by the Utah Attorney General who gave the final go ahead.

    The juxtaposition of these facts is jarring in today’s world. The choice between firing squad and lethal injection is no longer available -- a sign of how societies change and "evolve".  Firing squad has been outlawed as a method of execution in all states except Utah (for cases pre-2004) and Okalahoma (if lethal injection and ...

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  7. Death row - table through window

    Peter Cantu: petition for clemency

    Kate Morris on 19 June 2010

    Peter Cantu was sentenced to death in 1994, along with four alleged companions. They were convicted of taking part in the rape and murder of Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena. Two of the five have already been executed, whilst the two others had their sentences commuted to life after the US Supreme Court barred the death penalty for those who were under 18 at the time of their crimes. When Peter was sentenced to death, he was just 18 years old.

    Peter has been on death row for sixteen years. A federal court refused to hear his appeal, despite the ...

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  8. Nao Terai photo

    Commemorative Coins for Utah’s Firing Squad

    Nao Terai on 18 June 2010

    Ronnie Lee Gardner, 49, is scheduled to die tonight at midnight in Utah in front of a firing squad. With Mr. Gardner’s face hooded and strapped to a chair, five law enforcement officers will aim .30-caliber rifle and shoot at a target pinned to his heart him from 25 feet away. One of the five riffles will be armed with an “ineffective” round so that no one would know who delivered the fatal shot. Two alternate executioners will be standing by in case one of the original gunmen loses his nerves.

    To commemorate this event, Utah Correctional Department has ...

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  9. Generic - barbed wire hazy

    Utah’s willing executioner

    Kate Morris on 15 June 2010

    An anonymous gunman appears to relish the prospect of shooting Ronnie Lee Gardner this Friday.

    It isn’t easy being part of a firing squad. For one thing, you need a good sense of timing: all five gunmen must fire simultaneously. Then there’s the lingering sense of guilt - although admittedly one of the bullets is traditionally a blank, so no one knows who’s fired the fatal shot.

    Yet one anonymous gunman, interviewed in Salt Lake City by a CNN reporter last week, is undeniably enthusiastic about his career.  A member of the firing squad which executed John Albert ...

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  10. Katherine O'Shea BW

    Guantanamo under President Obama: the numbers

    Katherine O'Shea on 14 June 2010

    The prison at Guantanamo Bay is still open and a US Task Force report has now provided some public figures, below, on the number and status of prisoners there.  Reprieve is still urgently seeking a home for Ahmed Belbacha (right) who has elected to stay in the prison rather than return to persecution in his native Algeria.

    240 - files reviewed 

    126 - total number of prisoners approved for transfer out of the prison

    59  - transferred 

    181-  men still at Guantanamo

    30 - Yemenis approved for 'conditional detention' - meaning that they can be transferred if one of three specified conditions is met

    48 ...

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