The US Supreme Court gives the green light to the first execution with nitrogen gas

The Supreme Court of the United States gave the green light this Wednesday to the first execution with nitrogen gas in the countrywhich is scheduled for Thursday in Alabama, amid international criticism.

Kenneth Eugene Smith, 58 years old and sentenced to death for a murder committed in 1988launched a legal battle to prevent his execution with this never-before-tested method, claiming that he is being treated like a guinea pig.

The high court, however, refused to admit Smith’s challenge, who must be executed on Thursday after 18:00 local time (00:00 Friday GMT).

Strong international criticism

As the date approaches, international voices have been increasing that They call on the US authorities to intervene before it is too late.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human RightsRavina Shamdasani said she was “seriously concerned” about the new method and called on the state of Alabama “to stop the execution” and to “refrain from carrying out other executions of this type.”

International Amnestyfor its part, warned that “this new untested method could be extremely painful” for the prisoner, “thus violating the international human rights treaties that the United States has ratified.”

The “most painless and humane” method of execution

The state of Alabama, which has been working for years on a protocol to kill with this new nitrogen asphyxiation techniquehas defended before the courts that it is “the most painless and humane method of execution known to man“.

The inmates will be put on a mask that will replace oxygen with nitrogen gasin theory causing death in a few minutes.

But that argument does not convince Smith’s defense, who after a federal judge gave the green light to the execution last week, filed appeals before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and before the Supreme Court alleging that his client is a guinea pig. .

Unlike the Supreme, The Court of Appeals has not yet ruled. In cases of executions it is common for magistrates do not fail in one sense or another until the last minute or even after the scheduled execution time.

Alternative to lethal injections

Alabama is the first state to develop an alternative to lethal injections – the majority method in recent decades. given the difficulty that they have had in recent years in acquiring drugs due to the refusal of pharmaceutical companies to allow them to be used for this purpose.

In addition, complications arising from several executions – some in Alabama – have caused the method is questioned as inhumane and which has been the subject of legal disputes for years.

Smith He is on death row for having murdered a woman, Elizabeth Sennett, in 1988, at the request of her husband., Charles Sennett, who sought to collect compensation. Smith and an accomplice, John Forrest Parker, received $1,000 each.

Sennett committed suicide a week after the murderwhen he realized that the authorities considered him a suspect, while Parker was also sentenced to death and was executed in 2010 by lethal injection.

Alabama attempted to execute Smith in November 2022, but the executioner was unable to introduce the intravenous lines. As part of a subsequent agreement, Alabama pledged not to again attempt to kill Smith with lethal injection.

His defense maintains that his right not to suffer cruel punishment, enshrined in the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, has been violated.

Post Comment