Arkansas to execute 8 inmates because lethal drug expiring

Arkansas to execute 8 inmates because lethal drug expiring


This file photo taken on February 28, 2000 shows the “death chamber” at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit in Huntsville. (Via AFP)

The US state of Arkansas is scheduled to execute eight death-row inmates over the course of 10 days this month amid an outcry from death penalty opponents.

The inmates will be executed between April 17 and April 27, a move that critics have denounced as “unprecedented.”

The state is rushing the death warrants because the supply of one of the drugs it uses in lethal injections is reaching its expiration date.

“I know that Texas has executed a lot, but none, not even Texas, on that kind of schedule,” Dr. Allen Ault, who has been a commissioner of corrections in three states, told NPR.

“The other problem is that pharmaceutical companies and all medical professions will not involve themselves in executions. So this is the problem. They can’t get the appropriate drugs anymore,” he added.

In addition, the state is having a hard time finding enough volunteers to witness the executions. The Arkansas Code requires that at least six “respectable citizens” be present when a convict is put to death.

Typically, family members and relatives of the inmate are present. But sometimes, a state requires that people who have no stake in the case be a witness as well.

“It’s not natural watching the intentional taking of a human life,” Robert Dunham, director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington DC, told CNN. “It has an emotional impact on people.”

Arkansas allows people to witness several executions.

If carried out according to plan, the executions would be the first time Arkansas has put someone to death since 2005.


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