maya foa

director of death penalty team at reprieve

Maya Foa, Director Reprieve’s Death Penalty team, oversees all of Reprieve’s strategic initiatives to abolish the death penalty or restrict its application worldwide. In her work against execution by lethal injection in the US, Maya has codified the scientific case that the lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, and helped defence attorneys argue this to save their clients from execution, scrupulously tracing the pharmaceutical supply chain to track how death rows are diverting medicines, and supported more than 30 manufacturers in cutting off this supply.

Her work against European complicity in executions has exposed the implications of European support for counter-narcotics programmes, shifting the debate about where some of the responsibility lies for executions for drug-related offences. As Director of the Death Penalty Team, Maya has conducted extensive advocacy before the governments of Europe, the United States and regional and international bodies; has served as an expert advisor to the European Commission; and is a frequent voice in the media.

A graduate of Oxford University in French and Italian, Maya also holds an LLB, was a 2015 Soros Justice Fellow, won the 2015 SMK Women Demanding Justice award, and has been described by CBS news as “the woman behind a shortage of execution drugs”.