United Kingdom

The Death Penalty Project (DPP)

The Death Penalty Project is an international legal action charity, based in London, working to promote and protect the human rights of those facing the death penalty.

We provide free legal representation to death row prisoners around the world, with a focus on Commonwealth countries, to highlight miscarriages of justice and breaches of human rights. We also assist other vulnerable prisoners, including juveniles, those who suffer from mental health issues and prisoners serving long-term sentences.

For more than three decades, our work has played a critical role in identifying miscarriages of justice, promoting minimum fair-trial guarantees in capital cases, and in establishing violations of domestic and international law. Through our legal work, the application of the death penalty has been restricted in many countries in line with international human rights standards.

To complement our legal activities, we conduct capacity building activities for members of the judiciary, defence lawyers and prosecutors; commission studies on criminal justice and human rights issues relating to the death penalty; and engage in dialogue with governments and key stakeholders to promote informed debate.

Date founded

1992             

Structure type

NGO             

Contact informations

87-91 Newman Street
W1T 3EY London
Phone +44 203 206 2748
Fax +44 203 206 2748

Resources

Document(s)

Living Under Sentence of Death

on 22 April 2022


2022

Academic report

NGO report

Bangladesh

Death Row Conditions 


More details See the document

In 2019-20, The Department of Law at the University of Dhaka, in collaboration with the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) and The Death Penalty Project, conducted a study to investigate socio-economic characteristics and experiences of death row prisoners in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh continues to retain and implement the death penalty, with several executions taking place each year. Excluding laws relating to the defence forces and international crimes, there are currently 33 crimes punishable by death. 25 of these offences are non-lethal and arguably do not meet the threshold of the ‘most serious crimes’ under international law.

Inspired by similar studies in other countries, a pilot study was commissioned to examine the demographics and experiences of those sentenced to death. Consistent with those studies around the world, our findings evidence that the death penalty in Bangladesh is disproportionately used against the most vulnerable and marginalised sections of society.

72% of prisoners were classified as economically vulnerable
53% of prisoners were in low-paid work or unemployed
87% of prisoners had no qualifications beyond secondary school level
15% of prisoners had no formal education.

The study also raised serious concerns around the treatment of prisoners, the length of time prisoners spent in prison under the sentence of death and the integrity of criminal investigations and trial.

33% of prisoners’ families alleged their relative had been tortured in police custody, 5% suspected this and 15% refused to comment
60% of respondents were not satisfied with the trial process, with some claiming that the courts had failed to properly appreciate the evidence
On average it took over 10 years for death row cases to be disposed by the HCD (where sentences are confirmed). Prolonged time spent in isolation on death row, has been declared inhumane and degrading in many countries.

The sample consisted of 39 individuals on death row, evidence from their case files and face-to-face interviews with their families were conducted under rigorous ethical guidelines to reveal their profiles and experiences. Despite its small size, the sample is indicative of the general prison population allowing us to draw conclusions on possible trends.

  • Document type Academic report / NGO report
  • Countries list Bangladesh
  • Themes list Death Row Conditions 

Document(s)

Legislators’ Opinions on the Death Penalty in Taiwan

on 24 March 2022


2022

NGO report

Public Opinion 

Taiwan

zh-hant
More details See the document

In 2021, The Death Penalty Project and the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP) commissioned Professor Carolyn Hoyle at the University of Oxford and Professor Shiow-duan Hawang at Soochow University, Taipei to carry out a study exploring Taiwanese legislators’ attitudes towards capital punishment.

The study reveals that the majority of Taiwan’s legislators would like to see the death penalty abolished. The risk of wrongful convictions, the abuse of human rights and a recognition that the death penalty has no unique deterrent effect, were the primary reasons cited for supporting abolition. Additionally, a majority of legislators interviewed expressed fairly low levels of trust in the Taiwanese criminal justice system, with doubts raised over its ability to offer adequate safeguards to individuals facing capital trials.

Key findings:

– 61% of legislators interviewed are in favour of abolishing the death penalty
– 39% of legislators interviewed are in favour of retaining the death penalty, but only one legislator was strongly in favour
– 71% of retentionists and 65% of abolitionists asserted that wrongful convictions ‘sometimes’ occurred
– Only 11% of legislators interviewed thought that wrongful convictions ‘rarely’ occur
– All legislators interviewed expressed a preference for social justice measures, such as poverty reduction, over increased executions when asked to rank a range of policies aimed at reducing violent crime

Document(s)

Investigating Attitudes to the Death Penalty in Indonesia

By Carolyn Hoyle - The Death Penalty Project, in partnership with LBH Masyarakat and the University of Indonesia, on 10 August 2021


2021

NGO report

Drug Offenses

Indonesia

Public Opinion 


More details See the document

In 2019-20, The Death Penalty Project, in partnership with LBH Masyarakat and the University of Indonesia, commissioned Professor Carolyn Hoyle, of The Death Penalty Research Unit at the University of Oxford to conduct research investigating attitudes towards the death penalty in Indonesia.
The findings have been presented in a two-part report; the first details the findings of a nuanced public survey and the second details the findings of interviews conducted with opinion formers.

  • Document type NGO report
  • Countries list Indonesia
  • Themes list Drug Offenses / Public Opinion 

Document(s)

Sentenced to Death Without Execution

on 15 December 2020


2020

NGO report

Antigua and Barbuda

Barbados

Dominica

Grenada

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Trend Towards Abolition


More details Download [ pdf - 1597 Ko ]

This research is a contribution towards understanding why six small, independent island nations in the
Eastern Caribbean – Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St
Vincent and the Grenadines, all members of the OECS – and the neighbouring island of Barbados retain
the death penalty in their criminal statutes, and yet have not executed anyone sentenced to death for a
very long time. With the exception of St Kitts and Nevis, where an execution took place in 2008, no-one
has been judicially executed in any of the other countries for more than 20 years – and in Dominica,
Grenada, St Lucia and Barbados for more than 30 years. Furthermore, death sentences have been imposed
within the past 10 years only in St Lucia and Barbados, and in four of these seven nations no-one is under
sentence of death on ‘death row’ at the time of writing.
The questions posed by this publication are: why do these countries hang on to capital punishment
and what are the barriers and hindrances to the complete abolition of capital punishment by these
nations

  • Document type NGO report
  • Countries list Antigua and Barbuda / Barbados / Dominica / Grenada / Saint Kitts and Nevis / Saint Lucia / Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Themes list Trend Towards Abolition

Document(s)

For or against abolition of the death penalty: Evidence from Taiwan

By Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty / The Death Penalty Project, on 8 September 2020


2020

NGO report


More details See the document
  • Document type NGO report
  • Themes list Public opinion, Death Penalty,

Document(s)

The Death Penalty Project: 2018 Report

By The Death Penalty Project, on 1 January 2019


2019

NGO report


More details See the document

The Death Penalty Project publishes its 2018 annual report. It provides testimonies, figures and a look on the actions accomplished in favour of the human rights worlwide.

  • Document type NGO report
  • Themes list Right to life, Legal Representation, Death Penalty,

Document(s)

Unsafe convictions in capital cases in Taiwan

By Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty / The Death Penalty Project, on 1 January 2019


NGO report

zh-hant
More details See the document

Document(s)

The Death Penalty in Malaysia: Public opinion on the mandatory drug trafficking, murder and firearm offences

By Roger Hood / The Death Penalty Project, on 1 January 2013


2013

NGO report


More details See the document

This study reports the findings of a major public opinion survey of the views of a representative sample of 1,535 Malaysian citizens on this issue. A large majority said they were in favour of the death penalty, whether mandatory or discretionary: 91% for murder, 74 to 80% for drug trafficking depending on the drug concerned, and 83% for firearms offences. Concerning the mandatory death penalty, a majority of 56% said they were in favour of it for murder, but only between 25% and 44% for drug trafficking and 45% for firearms offences. When asked to say what sentences they would themselves impose on a series of ‘scenario’ cases, all of which were subject to a mandatory death sentence, a large gap was found between the level of support ‘in theory’ and the level of support when faced with the ‘reality

  • Document type NGO report
  • Themes list Capital offences, Public opinion, Retribution, Trend Towards Abolition, Innocence, Mandatory Death Penalty,

Document(s)

Prison Conditions in Jamaica

on 19 April 2011


2011

NGO report

Death Row Conditions 

Jamaica


More details Download [ pdf - 396 Ko ]

In criminal justice matters, Jamaica has been rightly praised for its de-facto abolitionist
stance on the death penalty: nobody has been executed on the island since 1988.
However, the alternative to death is imprisonment. For many years, NGOs, the UN
Human Rights Committee, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and
various independent and internal reports have expressed serious concern about the
conditions in which Jamaica detains its prisoners.

  • Document type NGO report
  • Countries list Jamaica
  • Themes list Death Row Conditions 

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