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Amnesty Speaks Out on the 25th Anniversary of Lethal Injection

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Mary Shaw       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments

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Today, December 7, is the 25th anniversary of the first use of lethal injection in an execution in the United States of America.

Back then, they believed that lethal injection would be a more humane alternative to the electric chair. Recent evidence suggests, however, that this is not the case.

So, to mark this gruesome anniversary, Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, released the following statement:
"In the past 25 years, the United States has carried out 929 executions by lethal injection. These include numerous botched executions that contradict the notion of a gentle death. Various autopsies have revealed severe, foot-long chemical burns, collapsed veins and multiple puncture marks on the skin. In some cases executions have lasted up to an hour, with prisoners visibly gasping for air or convulsing in visible pain.

"Texas was the first state to use lethal injection with the December 7, 1982 execution of Charlie Brooks. Since then almost half of such executions have been carried out in Texas, where the chemical mix has been used to put 405 human beings to death. Ironically, in 2003 Texas passed a law prohibiting the use of this very same cocktail to euthanize cats and dogs -- a ban that exists in law or in practice throughout most of the country. If this procedure is unacceptable for pets, clearly it is unacceptable for human beings.

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"Furthermore, lethal injection has a corrosive effect on the medical profession, which finds itself reluctantly conscripted to play a lead role in state-sanctioned killing. Health professionals who have sworn to do no harm and to sustain human life are mired in an ethical morass when they must participate in a process that extinguishes it.

"In January the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments to determine if lethal injection constitutes 'cruel and unusual punishment.' Amnesty International maintains that lethal injection is a failed experiment designed to make the death penalty seem more sanitized and humane. At its core, this system is arbitrary, capricious, racially biased, and includes the very real potential of executing the innocent. It exacts a toll on all involved and can never be humane."
For more information on Amnesty International's work on the death penalty, please see: www.amnestyusa.org/abolish

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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
 

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