Foreign Nationals
on Death Row

Assisting civil society in efforts to support foreign nationals sentenced to death in Asia and the Middle East

The Project

The University of Oxford Death Penalty Research Unit, led by Professor Carolyn Hoyle, along with a network of human rights NGOs, including The Death Penalty Project, Eleos Justice, Harm Reduction International, Justice Project Pakistan, Project 39a, and ADPAN, among others, have contributed to a mapping project of foreign nationals at risk of capital punishment in Asia and the Middle East, initially funded by the ESRC.

These regions have a disproportionate number of migrants and others without citizenship detained for capital offences, including those convicted for drug crimes. Building on research, knowledge and expertise within the network and beyond, this collaborative database aims to collate and make available information on foreign nationals executed or under sentence of death.

In collaboration with HURIDOCS, the Foreign Nationals Death Penalty Research Network have developed an interactive database on foreign nationals at risk of the death penalty that will record socio-demographic, jurisdictional and offence-related data as well as producing country reports, thematic reports, case studies and other resources on each retentionist country in these regions. The data presented in this database aims to report on all cases of foreign nationals sentenced to death or executed across these regions between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2021.

This database is made freely available to anyone conducting research on the death penalty for foreign nationals. We hope it will enable academic researchers, as well as researchers in civil society organisations to better understand how being a foreign national can impact on the likelihood of being convicted and sentenced to death for a capital offence and any patterns of difference and disadvantage. It could also assist legal and consulate representatives to better support and assist foreign nationals on death row.

Researchers can build their own searches regarding cases, countries and relevant themes. By browsing our findings and conducting targeted research users can explore the trends within a given region or state. It is our hope that this will prove a valuable resource to all researchers, providing important tools to effect change for this vulnerable population.

We are currently commencing a project to map those on death row for drug offences across Asia and the Middle East and seek further funding to ensure that our work on foreign nationals can be developed across Africa and the Caribbean and expanded to include other populations at risk of the death penalty, such as women. Those with data on drugs cases in Asia, or with information to update our foreign national cases, are encouraged to contact us to further develop the database.

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