Sandrine has been an abolitionist activist since she was a teenager. She is a member of ECPM’s Board and has represented the organisation at the Steering Committee meetings of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty since 2009. She was in charge of the programme of debates at the 5th World Congress Against the Death Penalty which took place in Madrid in 2013. She is the wife of Hank Skinner, a prisoner sentenced to death in Texas in March 1995, and has been fighting alongside him for more than 20 years to prove his innocence and obtain his release. Together, they fight to improve the conditions of detention of death row prisoners, a subject about which she has carried out much legal and medical research in collaboration with American experts.
Sabine Atlaoui is the wife of Serge Atlaoui. This French citizen was arrested in Indonesia in 2005 in an acrylic factory that turned out to be a cover in an ecstasy production case. Sentenced to the death penalty on appeal in 2007, despite his protests of innocence, Serge is still on Indonesian death row. Sabine is fighting to save her husband and is involved in the universal struggle for the abolition of the death penalty.
Hsing-tse spent 5,231 days in prison before being exonerated. Found guilty of the murder of a police officer in 2002, he spent 14 years in prison in Taiwan, 10 of which were on death row. In 2006, his case came before the Supreme Court which confirmed his death sentence. He has always maintained his innocence and was finally released in 2017.
Between 1984 and 1999, Jerry Givens was the chief executioner of Virginia State Penitentiary. He executed 62 people. In 1994, the suspension of Earl Washington’s execution nine days before its date upset his beliefs about the death penalty. When he was unfairly sentenced to 4 years in prison in 1999 he questioned the American justice system and decided to start the fight for abolition.
Sentenced to death in 2000 for kidnapping and murdering a businessman, Hsu Tzu-Chiang was sentenced to capital punishment during six consecutive trials. His sentence was then commuted to life imprisonment. In 2016, he was finally exonerated at his 9th trial after 16 years in prison. His case made a very strong impact on the judicial system in Taiwan because of the amount of media coverage it received and its clear injustice. Today, he works for the Judicial Reform Foundation.
A Spanish national and a former death row prisoner in the United States, he was arrested in Florida in 1992 for a double homicide after being falsely accused by his ex-wife. His case was supported by various organisations and institutions, particularly the Spanish Government and the Royal Family. On 6 June 2001, he was exonerated and was released after being incarcerated for four years. He became the first European to leave American death row.
Ndume spent 28 years in prison in the United States, 20 of them on death row, for a crime he did not commit. After countless appeals, Ndume was re-sentenced to life imprisonment and removed from death row in 2004. He was released after entering an Alford plea: he gave up his exemption which enabled him to be released immediately but is still considered guilty despite his innocence. He was saved by his discovery of drawing and painting, and helped throughout his detention by his family and friends, and abolitionist organisations. Today, he continues to campaign powerfully against the death penalty through his contact with young people.
Marie Pelenc is a member of Amnesty International. Through that organisation, she began to correspond with Antoinette Chahine, then sentenced to death in Lebanon, in June 1997. They have never lost touch and have met on several occasions, forming a real friendship.
Suzana Norlihan Alias
Suzana is the sister of Sulkarnain bin Alias. In 2002, he was charged with murder and sentenced to death in 2009. He is currently on death row, awaiting pardon by the Selangor Sultan.
Arthur Judah Angel
Sentenced to death in Nigeria for murder in 1986 at the age of 21, Arthur Judah Angel always denied committing the crimes of which he was accused. The artist, who was incarcerated at Enugu Prison in Nigeria, lived in particularly difficult conditions: he had to face an execution date which was cancelled at the last moment and witnessed 58 executions scheduled on the same day. He was finally released in 2000 after 16 years’ imprisonment, including nearly 10 on death row.
Antoinette was arrested in 1994 and sentenced to death in 1997 for the murder of a priest. The real reason for her imprisonment proved to be the fact that her brother belonged to a Christian militia which was banned in Lebanon. Antoinette was tortured in prison. She was finally released in 1999 following international campaigns. Since then, Antoinette Chahine has been campaigning for human rights and abolition of the death penalty.
In 1976 the trial of Christian Ranucci for the murder of a little girl was held in the court of Aix-en-Provence in France. At the end of the trial, the accused was sentenced to death and then guillotined on July 28th of the same year. Among the 12 jurors sitting was Geneviève Donadini, a young mother at the time of the events. 40 years later, Mrs. Donadini wrote “Le procès Ranucci. Témoignage d’un juré d’assise” (The Ranucci trial. Testimony of a sitting juror), published by Harmattan. This book recounts, without betraying the secret of the deliberation, this traumatic experience.
A former death row prisoner in Morocco, he was sentenced on the 30th of July, 1984 for an offence against national security and after having protested against Hassan’s regime at a peaceful demonstration. Due to the pressure exerted by international organisations, he was finally pardoned in 1999. He currently works for the National Council for Human Rights in Morocco and shares his life experiences in Morocco and abroad.
Sentenced to death in Uganda for killing her husband, Susan Kigula always maintained her innocence. Having founded a detainee choir and obtaining a law degree from the University of London while on death row, she was finally released after 15 years in prison and left in January 2016. Since then, she has founded the Susan Kigula African Child Foundation.
Vida is a chemist living in Stockholm, Sweden. Since April 2016, she has actively been fighting to save and release her husband, a scientist on death row in Iran. She has done so with the support of many individuals and organisations such as Amnesty International, VUB, UPO & KI universities and dozens of Nobel laureates.
Sentenced to death in Kenya for murder in 2001 at the age of 31, Pete Ouko, then a father of two young children, has always denied committing the crime. Detained for nearly 18 years in a cell with 13 other prisoners for 23.5 out of 24 hours, he testifies about how difficult it is to survive in the uncertain expectation of execution in very challenging circumstances. Pardoned and released on 26 October 2017, he is now a law graduate from the University of the London and is committed to defending the rights of prisoners in Africa with the support of the Youth Safety Awareness Initiative for which he is Founder and CEO.