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Showing posts from January, 2024

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NPR Investigation Reveals Supplier of Texas Execution Drugs Has Multiple DEA Violations; provided TDCJ with pentobarbital for more than 20 executions

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A July 10, 2024, National Public Radio (NPR) investigation has revealed that Rite Away, a small chain of pharmacies located around San Antonio and Austin, Texas, compounded and provided pentobarbital for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) between 2019 and late 2023 to carry out lethal injection executions. 

Saudi Arabia Executes 4 Ethiopians for Murder of Sudanese Man in Riyadh

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Saudi Arabia has faced criticism for its high number of executions, with over 170 convicts meeting a similar fate in the previous year Saudi Arabia announced the execution of four Ethiopian expatriates who were convicted of murdering a Sudanese man in the conservative kingdom.  The interior ministry stated that the convicts had participated in the attack and were involved in other criminal activities. 

China | Father and girlfriend executed for toddlers' high-rise murder

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A father in Chongqing who threw his two children out of a high-rise apartment window in 2020, along with his girlfriend who had encouraged him, were executed on Wednesday after China's top court recently approved their death sentence. The Supreme People's Court reviewed the case and held that defendant Zhang Bo, the father, and defendant Ye Chengchen, Zhang's girlfriend, had committed premeditated murder.

43 Alabama inmates may face nitrogen gas executions

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More than a quarter of all inmates currently on Alabama's death row have chosen nitrogen gas as their execution method, and those decisions were made before the state used the gas for the first time to kill Kenneth Eugene Smith, state officials say. Smith, 58, was executed Thursday night at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore by nitrogen hypoxia, a method never before used on humans. There are 164 inmates on death row, according to data from the Alabama Department of Corrections.  In a Friday morning news conference, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said 43 inmates have chosen the method.

Saudi Arabia carries out first death penalty of year

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Saudi Arabia has carried out its first death penalty this year after executing a citizen convicted of terrorist acts in the country's Eastern Province. The kingdom's Ministry of Interior said it executed Aoun Al Abu Abdullah on Tuesday. Photo : Public beheading in Saudi Arabia. Note that the red surface on which the blindfolded inmate is kneeling is not a pool of blood but a carpet in which the corpse will be rolled up after the execution. “Aoun bin Hassan bin Radhi Al Abu Abdullah, a Saudi national, committed terrorist acts by joining a terrorist cell that seeks to disrupt the security of the kingdom, destabilise the security of society and the stability of the state, and target security personnel with the intention of killing them,” the ministry said.

"Ohio Attorney General’s push to revive the death penalty is untimely, unseemly, and unnecessary"

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Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost just couldn’t resist jumping onboard a new way to kill people – or the opportunity to be in front of television cameras. Yost, Ohio’s two-term Republican attorney general, on Tuesday announced his support for legislation to allow nitrogen hypoxia to be used in Ohio executions. The bill is sponsored by state Reps. Brian Stewart, R-Ashville, and Phil Plummer, R-Dayton. Yost said Ohio has “broke faith” with crime victims and jurors by not carrying out death sentences for the last five years while capital punishment remains law. Without mentioning Gov. Mike DeWine by name, Yost said not following the law is “an abdication of the sovereignty of the state of Ohio.”

Thomas Creech, Idaho’s longest serving death row inmate denied clemency

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BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Thomas Creech, who has been Idaho’s longest serving death row inmate was denied clemency after the state parole board denied his request at a hearing on Monday in Boise, for a reduced sentence to avoid the death penalty.   Creech has been housed in Idaho’s maximum security prison on death row for 40 years.

Iran | Two hanged in Sabzevar for drug trafficking

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); January 26, 2024: Hossein Ali Shakourian and Naser Mavadat who were sentenced to death for drug-related charges, were executed in Sabzevar Prison.

Iran | Protester on Hunger Strike Against Planned Judicial Eye Gouging

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); January 26, 2024: Protester Mehdi Mousavian has begun a hunger strike in protest against his scheduled eye for an eye punishment. IHRNGO Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam previously said: "Blinding as a form of punishment is a medieval practice that the Islamic Republic uses to intimidate society.  The United Nations should not tolerate blinding as a form of punishment by any of its member states in 2024. We want the international community and all countries with diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic to convey this message that implementing such a punishment will have serious consequences for the Islamic Republic." According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, 2017 protester Mehdi Mousavian has begun a hunger strike in Shahre Kord Prison in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province against his scheduled eye gouging as retribution-in-kind for allegedly blinding a policeman by throwing a stone. An informed source told Iran Human Rights: “

Iran | Baluch Brothers Secretly Executed in Birjand

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); January 28, 2024: Asef and Aref Eshaghizadeh, two undocumented Baluch brothers on death row for drug-related charges, were secretly executed in Birjand Central Prison. According to Haal Vsh, two undocumented Baluch men were executed in Birjand Central Prison on 28 January. Their identities have been reported as 24-year-old Aref Eshaghzehi and 30-year-old Asef Eshaghzehi from Zabol.

Sister Helen Prejean: Alabama Just Showed Why We Must Kill the Death Penalty

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The first-ever use of nitrogen gas by Alabama to kill Kenneth Smith shows why the U.S. must end these futile, costly, deeply flawed government killings, says Sister Helen Prejean. A few nights ago convicted murderer Kenneth Smith was suffocated to death by the state of Alabama. His killing with nitrogen gas was a first. And it was fully approved by the U.S. Supreme Court, which allows death penalty states to experiment at will with different methods of execution. This is a court that steadfastly refuses to recognize that the long, dragged-out confinement and killing of conscious human beings counts as “cruel punishment.”

Iranian Lawmaker Says Executions ‘A Lesson’ For Dissidents

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An Iranian lawmaker says the execution of four Kurdish prisoners, who were hanged in Iran on Monday is a lesson to anyone who wants to overthrow the regime. “These executions are a lesson for anyone who wants to stand against the will of the Iranian nation because the Iranian nation will punish them for their deeds,” Mehdi Sa’adati, a member of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee told the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) Monday.

Alabama | I’m an anesthesiologist. Kenneth Smith’s execution by nitrogen gas was far from ‘textbook’

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On Thursday evening, the state of Alabama executed Kenneth Eugene Smith by nitrogen gas . Now, there are dueling narratives about what happened. Alabama claims it went perfectly, proving that nitrogen is a humane, effective alternative to lethal injection (which it previously tried, unsuccessfully, to use on Smith). It says that based on this experience, other states should follow its example. But witness accounts suggest that Smith’s death was cruel and tortuous.

After Alabama pioneers nitrogen gas execution, Ohio may be poised to follow

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Ohio's last execution was on July 18, 2018, when Robert Van Hook was put to death by lethal injection for killing a man he met in a Cincinnati bar in 1985. Ohio politicians may be poised to consider whether the state might break its unofficial moratorium on the death penalty by following Alabama in using nitrogen gas to execute inmates.

The Road to Death Penalty Abolition Runs Through Alabama and Oklahoma

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Countless cases lay bare the raw injustice of the death penalty in the United States. The case of Richard Glossip is certainly one of them. He’s been on Oklahoma’s death row since 1998, facing nine separate execution dates. He’s been given his final meal three times, and, in 2015, was saved from death just hours before his execution only after prison officials admitted they had ordered the wrong drug for their lethal cocktail. Richard Glossip has always maintained his innocence in the 1997 murder of Barry Van Treese, who employed him as a motel manager in Oklahoma City. The flawed prosecution had no physical evidence linking him to the crime. Only the testimony of the actual killer, Justin Sneed, another motel employee who had already confessed to the crime, implicated Glossip. In exchange, Sneed was able to avoid the death penalty.

Louisiana | Governor Jeff Landry looks to reinstate executions for death row inmates

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The Advocate newspaper reports Governor Jeff Landry will look to restart executions in Louisiana. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says it’s not a surprise since Landry has made it known that he wants to deter crime. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s going to try to push that and have it in his legislation as he campaigned across Louisiana  on reducing crimes and violent crime across Louisiana.”

Will other states replicate Alabama's nitrogen execution?

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ATMORE (AP) — Alabama’s first-ever use of nitrogen gas for an execution could gain traction among other states and change how the death penalty is carried out in the United States, much like lethal injection did more than 40 years ago, according to experts on capital punishment. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said Friday that the execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith, a 58-year-old convicted of a 1988 murder-for-hire, went off as planned and his office is ready to help other states if they want to begin nitrogen executions.

USA | Another New Execution Method, Another Botched Execution

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I am in the grim business of studying botched executions , and lately, tragically, business has been brisk. Last Thursday’s effort by Alabama to introduce nitrogen hypoxia to America’s arsenal of execution technologies added yet another chapter to the story of executions gone awry. As the New York Times notes , Kenneth Smith was the first person put to death by nitrogen hypoxia. He had been convicted “in the stabbing murder of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett, 45, whose husband, a pastor, had recruited them to kill her in March 1988 in Colbert County, Ala.”

Questions Surround Execution of Kenneth Smith

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Kenneth Smith was pronounced dead at 8:25 pm tonight after the State of Alabama executed him using nitrogen suffocation, an experimental method that had never previously been used in an execution. Witness reports indicate that, just as Kenny Smith feared, the State’s experiment with nitrogen suffocation did not go as the State predicted. AL.com reported :

Firm with Canada ties made mask used in Alabama nitrogen hypoxia execution

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NB:  The following piece was originally published on January 24, 2024 . Mr. Smith was executed by nitrogen hypoxia on January 25, 2024.  Masks made by the subsidiary of a Quebec-based company are being used for executions in the United States, justice advocacy groups say. Alabama plans to execute inmate Kenneth Smith on Thursday by nitrogen hypoxia, in which breathable air is replaced with nitrogen gas, depriving the body of oxygen.

America's controversial new tool for dispatching condemned

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America has never been squeamish when it comes to developing new methods to deliver condemned killers to the abyss. But as the old saying goes, the road to hell can be paved with good intentions. And that’s what happened to Alabama hitman Kenny Smith last Thursday. It was supposed to be all over quickly for the contract killer who rotted for 36 years on the state’s death row for icing a preacher’s wife for $1,000. Nitrogen gas was supposed to send Kenny to the hereafter, el pronto.

Iran seeking death penalty for Swedish EU diplomat accused of spying for Israel

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As trial wraps up in Tehran, prosecutor says Johan Floderus charged with ‘very extensive intelligence cooperation with the Zionist occupation regime’ The trial of a Swedish EU diplomat wrapped up in Tehran on Sunday, with Iranian prosecutors seeking the maximum penalty for the man accused of spying for Israel. The prosecutor said that 33-year-old Johan Floderus — who works for the European Union diplomatic service — was charged with “very extensive intelligence cooperation with the Zionist occupation regime,” meaning Israel, according to the judiciary’s Mizan Online website.

Iran | “Curse You, Khamenei!” Iranians Angered by Execution of Four Kurds

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The execution of four Iranian Kurdish prisoners accused of being "saboteurs" with links to Israel's Mossad intelligence service has prompted widespread condemnations, both within and outside of Iran. Mohammad Faramarzi, Mohsen Mazloum, Wafa Azarbar and Pejman Fatehi were hanged on January 29, a day after being granted a final meeting with their relatives . Available documents and published reports show that the defendants faced an unfair judicial process and were denied access to their chosen lawyer, marking them the latest victims of the Islamic Republic’s repressive policies, which include the growing use of the death penalty.

Iran | Families Of Four Political Prisoners Called In For Farewell Meeting

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The families of four Kurdish political prisoners who face death sentences have been summoned to Evin Prison for a meeting, a sign of imminent execution. The Hengaw Human Rights Organization reported that Pejman Fatehi, Mohsen Mazloum, Mohammad (Hazhir) Faramarzi, and Vafa Azarbar are scheduled to meet their families at Evin, where they face imminent execution after receiving death sentences from Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

Japan | Kyoto Anime arsonist who killed 36 people says he accepts death sentence

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Shinji Aoba, the arsonist found guilty of killing 36 people in an attack on a Kyoto Animation Co. studio in 2019, made clear he is appealing the Jan. 25 death sentence simply to buy time to speak out more about the horrific crime. He stated, “I seriously accept the verdict.” It marked the first time Aoba, 45, agreed to meet with a reporter from The Asahi Shimbun.

Iran | Executions in Shirvan, Sabzevar, Shiraz, Karaj

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); January 26, 2024: Moslem Aliyari, man on death row for murder, was executed in Shirvan Prison in North Khorasan province. According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, a man was executed in Shirvan Prison on 21 January. His identity has been established as 40-year-old Moslem Aliyari. He was arrested four years ago and sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for murder At the time of writing, his execution has not been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran.

Alabama | What happened at the nation’s first nitrogen gas execution: An AP eyewitness account

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Critics who had worried the new execution method would be cruel and experimental said Kenneth Eugene Smith’s final moments Thursday night proved they were right. ATMORE, Alabama — As witnesses including five news reporters watched through a window, Kenneth Eugene Smith, who was convicted and sentenced to die in the 1988 murder-for-hire slaying of Elizabeth Sennett, convulsed on a gurney as Alabama carried out the nation’s first execution using nitrogen gas.

The Persecution of Homosexuals under the Nazi Regime

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Before the storm In 1898, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld circulated a petition to abolish [Paragraph 175 criminalizing homosexual relations in Germany]. He obtained the signatures of prominent writers, lawyers, politicians, and church dignitaries. The petition was discussed in the Reichstag and rejected. Only the Social Democratic Party, under the guidance of August Bebel, pleaded the reform. Most deputies were outraged and did not hide their abhorrence.

SCOTUS Invites Former Clerk to Argue for Death Penalty in Richard Glossip's Case

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The US Supreme Court invited a lawyer who clerked for the chief justice to argue in support of executing an Oklahoma man on death row who’s fighting his conviction. Christopher Michel, a partner at Quinn Emanuel and former attorney in the Solicitor General’s Office, was asked in an order Friday to step into the rare death penalty appeal the court agreed to hear. The case is unique because Oklahoma is supporting death row inmate Richard Glossip, who says prosecutors suppressed evidence in order to convict him of a murder-for-hire plot in 1997.

Could Oklahoma begin using nitrogen for executions after Alabama? Not yet

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The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is interested in Alabama’s use of nitrogen gas to carry out death penalty executions, but they’re not ready to follow suit — just yet. “I have a continuously watchful eye on the progress Alabama is making with this new method,” Executive Director Steven Harpe told The Oklahoman in a statement.

“The World is Watching”: Witnesses Report Kenneth Smith Appeared Conscious, ​“Shook and Writhed” During First-Ever Nitrogen Hypoxia Execution

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On January 25, 2024, Alabama executed Kenneth Smith using nitrogen hypoxia, a first in American history. Though state attorneys had assured courts that the method would cause “unconsciousness in seconds,” witnesses reported that Mr. Smith appeared awake for several minutes after the nitrogen gas began. They observed that he “shook and writhed” for at least two minutes before breathing heavily for another few minutes. “This was the fifth execution that I’ve witnessed in Alabama, and I have never seen such a violent reaction to an execution,” said media witness Lee Hedgepeth. Mr. Smith was pronounced dead 32 minutes after the gas began to flow.

Observing Holocaust Remembrance Day on the Heels of Alabama’s Experimental Gassing Execution

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Each year on January 27, people across the globe observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It was on this day 79 years ago Nazi Germany's largest death camp Auschwitz was liberated — by which point upwards of one million prisoners had been killed. It is on this grim occasion that the author, a Jewish cantor, reflects on the aftermath of Alabama's killing of Kenneth Eugene Smith with the novel use of nitrogen hypoxia...

Nitrogen gas execution was "textbook" and will be used again, Alabama attorney general says

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The execution of convicted murderer Kenneth Eugene Smith using nitrogen hypoxia was "textbook," Alabama's attorney general Steve Marshall said in a news conference on Friday.  The execution was carried out on Thursday night and marked the first time nitrogen hypoxia, a process that aims to cause asphyxiation by forcing an individual to inhale pure nitrogen or lethally high concentrations of it through a gas mask, was used to execute someone. 

"Deeply Troubling, Cruel": Huge Outcry Over 1st Nitrogen Gas Execution In US

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Yasmin Cader of the American Civil Liberties Union said Smith "should have never been killed, let alone in such a gruesome manner. Alabama: The White House said Friday it was "deeply troubled" by the first-ever execution in the United States using nitrogen gas, an untested method which also drew condemnation from the United Nations and European Union.

‘Never Alone’: The suffocation of Kenneth Eugene Smith

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On Thursday, Smith became the first human ever subjected to a nitrogen suffocation execution. Read one reporter’s eyewitness account. ATMORE, Ala. — His wife wore a shirt that said “Never Alone.”  It was one of the first things Kenneth Smith saw Thursday night when unnamed representatives of the State of Alabama pulled back the curtains of the execution chamber where he would soon die.  “I will never leave you or forsake you,” her shirt reminded him. 

USA | Controversial execution in Alabama renews the fight over capital punishment

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The state is using a new untested method that’s prompted backlash. A controversial Alabama execution taking place on Thursday has reignited scrutiny of the death penalty and highlighted the enduring nature of the practice despite attempts to end it. Physicians and human rights experts have condemned the execution — which relies on an untested method known as nitrogen hypoxia — because there are concerns it could be painful and inhumane. 

Iran Confirms More Death Sentences Amid Execution Spree

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Two more political prisoners, Yousef Ahmadi and Ali Abidavi, have been sentenced to death amid Iran's ongoing killing spree. The two are the latest victims of the government's crackdown on dissent following a record year in 2023 seeing 834 executions according to the United Nations, eight linked to the nationwide protests which began in 2022.

Japan | Man Appeals Death Penalty in Kyoto Anime Studio Arson

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A Japanese man has appealed a court ruling handed down Thursday that said he was mentally competent when in 2019 he set a fire at an animation studio in Kyoto that killed 36 people. The Japanese court went on to sentence Aoba to death for the arson attack. Shinji Aoba’s lawyers appealed the ruling Friday, a Kyoto District Court spokesman told Agence France-Presse.  They had argued at trial that Aoba was not guilty because of a mental disorder, which the judge rejected.

‘The world is watching’: Sotomayor gives fiery rebuke after justices refuse to intervene in 1st nitrogen gas execution

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The U.S. Supreme Court did not intervene to stop the nation’s first execution by nitrogen hypoxia — a move that all three justices of the court’s liberal wing opposed. “With deep sadness, but commitment to the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment, I respectfully dissent,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a dissent issued Thursday afternoon regarding the then-pending execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith. Smith, 58, was put to death Thursday night.

Alabama | Media witness' account of the nation’s first nitrogen hypoxia execution

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ATMORE, Ala. (WHNT) — News 19’s Lauren Layton was one of only five media witnesses present during the execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith (pictured below) by nitrogen hypoxia on Thursday. Smith was the first person to be executed by nitrogen hypoxia in the U.S. RELATED |  What happened at the nation’s first nitrogen gas execution: An AP eyewitness account RELATED | Alabama convict becomes first known person executed by nitrogen hypoxia RELATED | The Associated Press: Alabama executes Kenneth Eugene Smith RELATED |  Kenneth Smith ‘struggled for life’ for 22 minutes in Alabama nitrogen gas execution  ( scroll down ) RELATED |  Alabama Execution Took 22 Minutes  ( scroll down ) During the entire process, she provided updates on the events surrounding the execution as it unfolded. Below are time-stamped updates from News 19’s Lauren Layton throughout the day on Thursday from Holman Correctional. The most recent updates will appear toward the top. 9:35 p.m. – Death Penalty Action held a news

Alabama executes Kenneth Eugene Smith

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  Alabama executes a man with nitrogen gas, the first time the new method has been used  Alabama executed a convicted murderer with nitrogen gas Thursday, putting him to death with a first-of-its-kind method that once again placed the U.S. at the forefront of the debate over capital punishment. The state said the method would be humane, but critics called it cruel and experimental.

America's first execution by nitrogen gas is a desperate last shot

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Alabama's plan to execute a convicted murderer with nitrogen gas was labelled by campaigners as part of a 'Nazi legacy of experimentation that should not be repeated' Alabama’s plan to be the first state to use nitrogen gas to execute a convicted murderer has been criticised by activists who say it is “risky” and would be “mental torture” for the accused. Kenneth Eugene Smith, who was convicted in the 1989 killing of Elizabeth Sennet, is due to be put to death on Thursday after the courts declined to halt the execution.