published: July 2014
A competent lawyer is key to avoiding a death sentence. One of the greatest challenges we face in our work is the absence of, or restrictions to, legal aid in certain jurisdictions.
This means that the poorest and most vulnerable individuals cannot secure lawyers, are at far greater risk of being sentenced to death, and are then unable to appeal their sentences.
The British government opposes the death penalty and says it is pushing for worldwide abolition. Yet it is the only government in the western world willing to stand back and watch as its own citizens face the firing squad in a foreign country, refusing to loan citizens money, even when they have nowhere else to turn.
There are not many people in this situation, but the few who are are in countries without functioning legal aid systems.