Fellowship, Reprieve (Remote; Washington, DC or London, UK)

Reprieve collaborates with schools and universities to enable students to undertake placements with Reprieve.

Reprieve is particularly interested in welcoming candidates to join a team focusing on one of the following four areas:

  • Death Penalty

Reprieve uses strategic initiatives to end the use of the death penalty. We fight to save individuals from execution, as well as to challenge systems of injustice that result in the implementation of the death penalty by focusing on cases most likely to have a wider strategic impact.

We are on the frontline, investigating cases, tracking down evidence and witnesses, and working with attorneys to take action in the courts. We combine legal action with public campaigns and advocacy.

Past death penalty related fellowship projects have included: helping to secure the release of over 130 former death row inmates former prison in Malawi by organizing and facilitating resentencing hearings; working on Reprieve US’ ground-breaking lethal injection project which has transformed the death penalty landscape in the United States; and building the case for abolition of the death penalty for drug offences in Pakistan.

  • Secret Prisons (including Guantánamo and unlawful detention facilities in North East Syria)

Reprieve works to stop ongoing rendition, unlawful detention and torture/cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment carried out in the name of “counter-terrorism” or “national security”. Past secret prisons related fellowship projects have included working on cases of individuals detained in Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve UK and Reprieve US have secured freedom for over 80 Guantánamo detainees – more than any other law firm or NGO – and continues to work to secure the release of those still there, as well as implement a project assisting resettled former detainees. Other projects have included working on the cases of families who are indefinitely detained without charge or trial in prisons and camps in North East Syria.

  • Extrajudicial executions

Reprieve works to bring an end to state-sanctioned extrajudicial executions carried out in the name of “counter-terrorism” or “national security”, including off-battlefield use of weaponised drones and the use of, or collusion with, other mechanisms for assassinations. Reprieve is assisting survivors and victims’ families in their fight for legal accountability, transparency and justice. We are seeking an end to the use of extrajudicial execution and complicity in extrajudicial execution by state actors.

Past extrajudicial executions related fellowship projects include investigating cases of individuals targeted through the US Kill List and developing legal strategies to help protect these individuals. The work also includes investigating and exposing the stories of those killed as part of the drone program, and tracking developments in international law and policy in this area.

  • Policy, research and media.

As well as working on individual cases and investigations, Reprieve advocates for systemic policy change to end states’ use of capital punishment, extrajudicial executions, and secret prisons. We also campaign publicly and engage with the media around our cases and issues, fighting on behalf of our clients in the court of public opinion as well as the court of law.

Our policy and media work is closely integrated with our casework and strategic projects, and aims to secure changes in policy and public opinion across all of our key issues.

Reprieve’s current policy goals include supporting legislation to abolish and restrict the scope of the death penalty; strengthening policies to prevent the sharing of torture tainted evidence; preventing US and UK complicity in overseas human rights abuses; and advocating for an end to state-sponsored extrajudicial executions.

Role and responsibilities

These will vary according to the applicant’s experience, interests and the project devised. Broadly, academic fellows will be expected to:

  • Conduct legal and/or factual research and analysis and develop theories to support new litigation projects and advocacy strategies;
  • Draft memoranda and briefings;
  • Interview witnesses and people who Reprieve assists with supervision;
  • Draft and edit public education and non-litigation advocacy materials;
  • Provide legal and research support to Reprieve partners;
  • Attend meetings and/or conferences as needed, and be an ambassador for Reprieve and its partner organisations.

How to apply

Reprieve is not currently able to provide direct funding for academic fellows. However, we do accept applications to work at Reprieve that are funded by universities/public interest fellowships/scholarships or which attract academic credits that count towards completion of an individual’s current tertiary level studies (provided that you are able to self-fund your time at Reprieve).

As an initial step, and prior to applying to Reprieve, please liaise with:

  • your university careers office; or
  • the relevant scholarship or public interest fellowship coordinator/office; or
  • the corporate social responsibility team at your organisation; or
  • any other person responsible for coordinating voluntary placements at charitable organisations.

Please discuss your decision to apply to do a placement at Reprieve, and determine whether funding or academic credits are available. Once you are confident that funding, academic credits, or both are available for you to volunteer at Reprieve for a period of at least three months, please send us your application, which should consist of:

  • a cover letter of no more than one page including details of two academic or professional references
  • a resume of no more than two pages
  • this application form

to applications@reprieve.org with Reference [Reprieve Placement – 2021] in the subject line. Please include information about whether you will need visa sponsorship in your application, as well as information about any other nationalities you may hold.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and subject to visa requirements, funding checks, references and identity checks. Interviews will normally take place via zoom.

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