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Shiryn, UK

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"I found it staggering to realise that the vital work I have been doing here in the office could help to save a life across the pond."

I have never understood this logic behind the death penalty, of taking a life for a life; deterring killing by killing. Before my internship with Amicus, I truthfully was not very aware that the problems were much more complex than this; that there was a whole multitude of practical failures within the system itself relating to ineffective legal counsel, lack of fair trials and so much more. However, I can now say that three months on, I am leaving the office with a vehement and more profound appreciation of the extent to which lives are shattered and racial, social and economic issues deepen and are deepened by the injustices within this system. I now feel more passionate than ever about the need for reform (and can't stop telling anyone who expresses the slightest interest)! Not only this, but I have gained new skills and interests from my work in the office that I know I will carry with me throughout my professional life.

Over the three months, I was able to undertake a huge range of tasks - from carting pieces of artwork done by death row prisoners all around London, to helping out with fundraising tasks and researching death penalty issues. Towards the end of my internship, I was even able to undertake casework and found it staggering to realise that the vital work I have been doing here in the office could help to save a life across the pond. However, despite the enormousness of the work of Amicus, I have never felt overloaded and always had the freedom to involve myself, explore my interests and challenge my existing skills and notions. In this sense, an internship with Amicus is unique both in the type and style of work, offering opportunities that you would honestly never encounter otherwise. It is rare to be able to contribute to such fundamental human rights work in such an intimate and supportive environment where new ideas and ways of working are encouraged.

Thanks Florence, Maroshini and Margot for all your patience and support (and for letting me eat a lot of the spare food in the office). I have found my internship an eye-opening experience, spawning a lifelong interest and desire to continue working towards true justice in all areas and kinds of legal systems.