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Fourth man dies in controversial flurry of Arkansas executions

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By Euronews
Fourth man dies in controversial flurry of Arkansas executions

A fourth inmate has been executed in just a week in the US State of Arkansas after weeks of controversy about plans for a high number of executions in a short space of time.

Kenneth Williams was one of eight prisoners who were told they would be executed within 11 days because one of the lethal injection drugs used would expire at the end of April.

Williams, 38, was serving a life sentence for murdering a cheerleader and also killed two people after escaping from jail.

The four executions in a week is said to be the highest in US death penalty history since the 1950s, in a case in which Arkansan’s governor, Asa Hutchinson, was accused of acting “recklessly”.

After legal challenges and a public outcry over the reasons for the fast pace in executions, four of the prisoners initially issued with death warrants were spared execution for now.

The valium-like drug under the spotlight in Arkansas, Midazolam, is controversial.

It has also been used in executions in Arizona and Oklahoma, where campaigners say prisoners appeared to be in pain despite its use.

Critics say Midazolam is not used to put people to sleep during surgery and it should not be used in executions.