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Clive Stafford Smith, Founder and Director

Clive is a human rights lawyer known for his work on behalf of prisoners on death row in the United States and those detained in Guantánamo Bay. He previously worked at the Southern Centre for Human Rights, then founded the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Centre in a building in downtown New Orleans that facilitated and incubated the careers of scores of justice warriors, in the US and around the world. The LCAC focussed on representing the poorest of people when they had nowhere else to look for support. In the late 1990s, he co-founded Reprieve, an organisation that fights for the victims of extreme human rights abuses with legal action and public education. This includes those detained indefinitely without charge in ‘dark prisons’ (e.g. Guantánamo Bay), extrajudicial killing, extraordinary rendition, as well as those facing capital punishment wherever they are occurring globally.

He still represents his long-standing clients including Kris Maharaj, Bilal Abdul Kareem and many of the remaining 39 Guantánamo prisoners, and consults on a number of other cases all now under the remit of 3DC. He represented all 16 of the British Guantánamo detainees including Shafiq Rasul (the original plaintiff and one of the “Tipton Three”), Moazzam Begg (who wrote about his experiences in Enemy Combatant) and Shaker Aamer (the last British resident to be released). Other well-known clients included Mohammed el Gharani (at 14, one of the youngest) and Sami el Haj (an Al Jazeera journalist).

Clive has been a Soros Fellow, an Echoing Green Fellow and a Rowntree Visionary. He is licenced to practice law in the State of Louisiana, USA, and was awarded an OBE in 2000 for services to human rights. He has represented 87 detainees held in Guantanamo Bay, far more than any other lawyer, 86 of whom have now been released or cleared. Clive has never charged a client for his services.

Publications