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EU ‘deeply regrets’ Alabama execution

26 Jan 2024 / global news Print

EU ‘deeply regrets’ Alabama execution

The EU has said that it “deeply regrets” the execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith in the US state of Alabama yesterday (25 January).

The execution was carried out by forcing the prisoner to breathe pure nitrogen, depriving him of the oxygen needed to maintain bodily functions, leading to nitrogen hypoxia – the first time this execution method has been used in the US.

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) had called earlier this week for the planned execution to be stopped, describing the method as “untested”.

US executions rise

A spokesperson for the EU’s diplomatic service said today that the union “strongly opposes” the death penalty, “at all times and in all circumstances”.

Referring to the method of execution, the spokesperson cited experts who had described it as “a particularly cruel and unusual punishment”.

The EU pointed out that the inmate had already been subjected to a failed execution attempt in November 2022.

It welcomed the fact that 29 US states had either abolished capital punishment or imposed a moratorium on executions, but expressed concern that the overall number of executions in the US increased last year.

“We call for states that maintain the death penalty to implement a moratorium and move towards abolition, in line with the worldwide trend,” the EU statement concluded.

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