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US Attorney General AG Barr orders reinstatement of the federal death penalty

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Attorney General William Barr at the "2019 Prison Reform Summit" in the East Room of the White House in Washington
Attorney General William Barr at the "2019 Prison Reform Summit" in the East Room of the White House in Washington   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo
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Attorney General William Barr has ordered the reinstatement of the federal death penalty after a 16-year pause, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Barr also directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions of five death-row inmates convicted of murder, the Justice Department said in a news release. The executions are slated to take place in December 2019 and January 2020.

"Congress has expressly authorised the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people's representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President," Barr said in a statement. "The Justice Department upholds the rule of law — and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system," he added.

The last federal execution occurred in 2003. There are currently 62 inmates on federal death row, according to a list compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit.

The list of current inmates includes convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof.

The federal inmates whose executions have been scheduled are Daniel Lewis Lee, a member of a white supremacist group convicted of killing a family of three, including an 8-year-old girl; Lezmond Mitchell, convicted of stabbing to death a 63-year-old woman; Wesley Ira Purkey, convicted of raping and murdering a 16-year-old girl; Alfred Bourgeois, convicted of sexually molesting and beating to death his 2-and-a-half-year-old daughter; and Dustin Lee Honken, convicted of shooting five people to death.