Project information

Appeal from our patron, Jon Snow

Reprieve is a small, nimble and fearless human rights organisation. We help people who have suffered extreme abuse at the hands of the world's most powerful governments, including death row prisoners, Guantanamo Bay detainees, and victims of rendition and drone attacks.


Charity information


Reprieve logo
  • Need


    Reprieve defends people against extreme human rights abuses by the world’s most powerful governments. All over the world, vulnerable people suffer extrajudicial killing, indefinite detention, imprisonment without trial, rendition, and torture – and at the hands of powers that purport to know better. Whether in a secret prison in Afghanistan or on death row in Texas, Reprieve is there to fight for our clients’ rights, and hold the people responsible for abusing them to account.


    Reprieve is different from other human rights charities in the UK: we provide frontline investigation and legal representation to individual people. Reprieve investigators travel around the world to uncover the facts that can make all the difference in an individual case, or expose the frailties of an entire justice system. We combine our legal work with a powerful public education strategy, ensuring that our clients' stories are heard in the court of public opinion as well as the courts of law.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To find and investigate the cases of those facing the most extreme human rights abuses.


    » Research and cross border investigations, trips to Guantánamo and worldwide death rows, as well as international court appearances.
    » Evidence gathering via witness interviews, record collecting, DNA testing and forensic expert testimony.

    Success will be... Identifying the right cases and arriving at court fully armed with all the facts and evidence necessary to best present our client’s case.

    Aim 2

    To continue our litigation on behalf of European nationals facing the death penalty around the world


    » Identify EU nationals on death rows across the US, and provide investigative and litigation assistance on the cases identified.
    » Leverage anti-death penalty sentiment amongst European governments and encourage them to petition for clemency on behalf of their nationals.
    » Use this work to question the legitimacy of the death penalty more generally, thus benefiting everyone facing execution in the US.
    » Continue our work with our local fellows in Pakistan and Thailand to investigate and litigate selected death penalty cases in the region.

    Success will be... Ensuring European countries are always aware when their nationals are facing the death penalty; lower execution rates and continued European influence in the US.

    Aim 3

    To free cleared men from Guantánamo Bay, and campaign for Obama to shut the prison for good.


    » We will continue to try to free our 15 clients from Guantánamo through a combination of habeas litigation, advocacy and diplomatic relations work.
    » We will continue to advocate for the resettlement of prisoners in Guantánamo who are cleared for release but cannot return home.
    » We will continue to investigate other secret prisons - we currently represent several Pakistani prisoners being held in Bagram Airbase by the US.
    » We will expand our remit to address fresh injustices committed in the name of the 'war on terror', like secret proxy detentions in Yemen.

    Success will be... The release of all our clients from Guantánamo Bay and ultimately its closure. Legal representation and access to justice for all those held in secret worldwide.

    Aim 4

    To continue to strive for accountability in Britain for those caught up in the ‘war on terror’.


    » We will fight to ensure that the upcoming inquiry into British complicity in torture is conducted thoroughly and impartially.
    » We will continue our litigation on behalf of men rendered to secret prisons with the full knowledge and collaboration of the British government.

    Success will be... Ensuring that the truth is told. We cannot learn from the mistakes of history if we don’t know what that history was.

    Aim 5

    To continue to strive for accountability around the world for those caught up in the ‘war on terror’


    » We will continue our Polish litigation on behalf of Abu Zubaydah, who was held and possibly tortured in a CIA-run secret prison in Poland in 2003.
    » We will pursue litigation at a national and international level to hold those responsible for recklessly-targeted drone killings to account.

    Success will be... Ensuring that all administrations - however powerful - are held responsible for complicity in extraordinary rendition and torture.

  • Impact


    We think big - our ultimate goals are the worldwide abolition of the death penalty and universal respect for human rights and due process. However, we know that we may not see these achieved in our lifetimes, so we measure our success in terms of steps towards them. These include: executions we prevent, innocent people set free as a result of our work, successful litigation and positive stories we seed in the media about our (often greatly maligned) clients.


    Reprieve is essentially a law office, undertaking investigation and litigation. Litigation is full of risk and there is no such thing as a ‘sure win’ (although it Reprieve’s success rate is astonishingly high for such a small organisation). The mitigation to this risk is that each of our cases is much more than an ordinary piece of litigation. Each case can be used to raise awareness - experience has taught us that the court of public opinion often matters at least as much as the courts of law.


    Donors can join our mailing list and so receive regular updates on our work and plans. We often invite our supporters to join Reprieve staff at breakfast meetings, where they can hear more about our cases and be inspired by the interesting speakers we host. We also produce an annual report.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £2,200,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £500,000 Support and Governance costs Costs of generating and managing voluntary income
      £1,700,000 Casework Promotion of human rights

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Institutional sources £1,400,000 Guaranteed
    Individual sources £688,000 Guaranteed
    Corporate sources £45,000 Guaranteed
    Events and sales £65,000 Guaranteed
    Financial sources £2,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Reprieve's work focuses on individual cases rather than specific geographies, but our work takes place in the UK and internationally. We assist British nationals on death rows worldwide and are working on cases in the USA, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ghana, Thailand, Indonesia, the UAE and DRC. Our Abuses in Counter Terror team take on cases in Guantánamo Bay and Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, as well as in Europe, Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Africa and the Middle East.


    Reprieve works around the clock defending people who find themselves in the worst places, accused of the worst crimes, where cases are often aggressively, and sometimes mendaciously, prosecuted, and weakly defended. The most direct beneficiaries of Reprieve’s work are the prisoners held without a fair, or sometimes any, trial on deaths rows worldwide and in Guantánamo Bay, or incarcerated beyond the rule of law in secret prisons.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have secured the release of 68 prisoners from Guantánamo Bay (including every British prisoner) and still act for 15 more - far more than any other lawyer or law firm. Furthermore, over 300 prisoners are no longer facing the death penalty because of Reprieve's work. We currently assist over 70 prisoners facing the death penalty worldwide, in 16 different countries. We bring power to the powerless, hold governments to account for wrongdoing, and punch well above our weight for a small NGO.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Clive Stafford Smith

    Clive founded Reprieve 15 years ago, having spent over two decades working on behalf of defendants facing the death penalty in the USA.

    Clare Algar

    Clare is Executive Director of Reprieve. Under Clare’s leadership Reprieve has achieved outstanding results for our clients, and global recognition.

    Cori Crider

    Cori is a strategic director, overseeing all aspects of our Abuses in Counter Terror work, and she also continues to act for our Guantánamo clients.

    Tineke Harris

    Tineke directs the Death Penalty Team and is responsible for overseeing cases of British citizens facing execution around the world.

Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) being force-fed


pays for a police report in a death penalty case

“Reprieve gave us hope when we had none, and a helping hand when all was against us. Really the name says it all, 'Reprieve'."

Bisher Al Rawi, former Guantanamo Prisoner