The Death Penalty

If a murder occurs in a country which still has the death penalty, families face added barriers in their fight for justice.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office's ability to assist a British family is severely restricted if the crime occurred in one of these countries:

The 58 countries that have the death penalty

  1. Botswana
  2. Chad
  3. Comoros
  4. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  5. Egypt
  6. Equatorial Guinea
  7. Ethiopia
  8. Gambia
  9. Lesotho
  10. Libya
  11. Nigeria
  12. Somalia
  13. Somaliland
  14. South Sudan
  15. Sudan
  16. Uganda
  17. Zimbabwe
  18. Antigua and Barbuda
  19. Bahamas
  20. Barbados
  21. Belize
  22. Cuba
  23. Dominica
  24. Guatemala
  25. Guyana
  26. Jamaica
  27. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  28. Saint Lucia
  29. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  30. Trinidad and Tobago
  31. United States
  32. Afghanistan
  33. Bahrain
  34. Bangladesh
  35. China
  36. India
  37. Indonesia
  38. Iran
  39. Iraq
  40. Japan
  41. Jordan
  42. North Korea
  43. Kuwait
  44. Lebanon
  45. Malaysia
  46. Oman
  47. Pakistan
  48. Palestinian Territories
  49. Qatar
  50. Saudi Arabia
  51. Singapore
  52. Syria
  53. Taiwan
  54. Thailand
  55. UAE
  56. Vietnam
  57. Yemen
  58. Belarus

As reported in The Telegraph in September 2016, four countries considered to be industrialised still execute criminals: the US, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. The most recent countries to abolish all capital punishment are Guinea (2016), Nauru (2016), Congo (2015), Suriname (2015), Fiji (2015), Madagascar (2012), Latvia (2012) and Gabon (2010).  

Are you bereaved through murder or manslaughter in one of the above countries? Do you need help? If so, please get in touch

2nd Annual Wellbeing Conference

Sunday was the culmination of our 2nd Annual Wellbeing Conference sponsored by Always A Chance and the University of Northampton.

Guest speaker, Georgie Vestey, gave her expert insight into effective communication with the media following events creating tragedy and grief. 

American author of "Grief Like No Other", Kathleen O’Hara, also spoke at the event and led a very moving ceremony at the tree of remembrance. Families placed a yellow ribbon on the tree in memory of loved ones who had been murdered overseas.

Much-needed therapeutic sessions were also held during the weekend, including yoga and massage.  

The weekend was a huge success with families expressing how much they appreciated a forum which enabled them to share their stories and feed into opportunities to lobby government for greater support for families affected by homicide abroad.

This important event could not have happened without the generous support of Always A Chance and the University of Northampton and we extend our gratitude to them.


These are some of the common problems our members have encountered when their loved ones were the victims of murder or manslaughter abroad:

  • The additional distress caused by the geographical distance between where we are and the place our loved one was killed
  • Cultural differences
  • Translation and communication difficulties
  • Lack of (up-to-date) information about the investigation, trial, sentencing or release
  • No single UK agency being set up to take responsibility in the UK or which is proactive
  • Being kept informed by the UK authorities when applicable
  • The expense and difficulty of engaging a lawyer abroad and attending a court case or legislative procedures overseas
  • Exclusion from UK Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority scheme (CICA) because the death occurred outside the UK, and outside British Embassy grounds abroad
  • Difficulties with travel insurance and repatriation of our loved ones body or personal effects
  • Unfamiliarity with the place where our loved one was killed
  • Not being able to visit initially or later, due to financial or other restrictions
  • A lack of care and support for those traveling with our loved one, including our own care after the murder
  • A lack of confidence/doubts about the post mortem (if your loved ones body is found) or doubts about the competency of the investigating authorities.

Drifter strangled British tour guide

A drifter who strangled a British tour guide on a paradise Caribbean island then hid her body in a cupboard has been jailed for 20 years. Lianne (Lee) Burns was murdered in April 2011.

Read more:

Coronial Reform

In October 2006, representatives of Murdered Abroad (then called SAMM Abroad) met the Minister of State for Constitutional Affairs, Harriet Harman, and discussed the government's Draft Coroners Bill's proposal to remove the automatic right to a UK inquest following the suspicious death of a UK citizen abroad (except in a few named circumstances).

Harriet Harman requested that we compile evidence illustrating the importance to bereaved families of a UK Coroner's inquest when a UK citizen is the victim of murder or manslaughter abroad. Our members provided this evidence, showing how a UK inquest had helped them find out more about their loved one's death and get justice abroad.

We were very grateful to all our members who helped in this difficult process by providing evidence.

We welcomed the Ministry of Justice statement that the Draft Bill had been changed. It now conveys on Coroners the same duty to investigate a death abroad, as a death in the UK.

Since 2001, our organisation has provided feedback on coronial reform many times. We opposed the Coroners Draft Bill in its recommendation to abolish mandatory inquests on the repatriation of a body after a suspicious death abroad. We proposed to instead seek inquests after the murder or manslaughter of a British citizen even if a body is not repatriated, and to widen the responsibilities of the Coroner after murder abroad.