At The Death Penalty Project, we share a vision of a future free from capital punishment. The death penalty is a breach of the most fundamental human right – the right to life – and is a cruel and inhuman punishment. We want to see it abolished.
On 20th World Day Against the Death Penalty, we reflect on this year’s theme of the relationship between the use of the death penalty and torture or other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment.
From sentencing to execution, capital punishment can have a marked effect on the lives of many.
For example, the perpetual fear of execution can cause extreme trauma and damage to prisoners’, not only to their physical wellbeing but also to a person’s psychological health. This is called the Death Row Syndrome – and the longer someone is on death row the greater the damage to them.
Not only are those living under sentence of death subject to this torture, but their friends and family suffer severely too. In many cases, families are too far to visit their loved ones in prison, eroding personal relationships and mutual support systems. Strained relationships, shame and stigma can be a knock-on effect of having a loved one sentenced to death.
In 2021, 579 people around the world were executed and at least 28,670 people were living under a sentence of death. Behind every statistic, there is a person.
This year we focus on some of our clients harrowing experiences of death row:
This is Joshua’s story.
This is Wenceslaus’ story. Wenceslaus spent over two decades on death row and was subjected to a highly traumatic experience moments before his scheduled execution.
Not only did Wenceslaus have the traumatising experience of hearing the execution of his cell mate, but he also heard the executions of 9 other prisoners whilst he was living on block H next to the gallows.
Death row prisoners often spend many years living in appalling prison conditions. This is Trono’s story.
Death row prisoners’ mental state often suffer greatly. This is Aron’s story.
For more information on these cases and others we represented, visit ‘Our Stories’ page.
World Day Against the Death Penalty
Held every year on 10 October, World Day Against the Death Penalty is organised by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, of which The Death Penalty Project is a steering committee member.
We are proud to be part of the organisations supporting World Coalition Against the Death Penalty’s joint statement on women and LGBTQIA+ individuals sentenced to death.