The US state of Arkansas has executed its first death row inmate in 12 years, the first of a group of eight men the authorities are trying to expedite before a drug used in the lethal injection expires.
Ledell Lee, 51, had served more than 20 years on death row for the 1993 beating to death of a woman. The seven other men were due to be put to death over the next 10 days.
.— Indiana State Bar (@IndianaStateBar) 10 avril 2017
JohnGrisham</a>: Stop the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/execution?src=hash">#execution</a> madness in Arkansas <a href="https://t.co/oZDUcsNNNV">https://t.co/oZDUcsNNNV</a> via <a href="https://twitter.com/USATODAY">usatoday
If Arkansas gets its way this will be the most people executed in as short a period by any state since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
However courts have halted four of these, including back-to-back executions scheduled for Monday.
Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson set the execution schedule because the state uses a three-drug cocktail involving the sedative midazolan, and Arkansas’s stocks reach the end of their shelf life at the end of April.
The ignoble history of the 3-drug death penalty cocktail https://t.co/Y8tR2amq5E— GCADP (@GCADP) 21 avril 2017
Midazolan, a low-cost generic opioid has been used since pentabarbitol was withdrawn from penal use by its European manufacturers, but the replacement has produced a number of incidents where death was prolonged and painful.
Seen from abroad: Cartoonist Delucq – Executions speed up before products expire – “Can my last request be to have a cigarette?” “Ah no, we’ve got some out-of-date yogurts to finish”.