Tag Archives: Lethal Injection

European Commission Restricts Production of Drugs for Executions


The European Commission announced a restriction on drugs produced by European manufacturers for use in lethal injection executions.  The restriction marks a widening of the gulf between the capital punishment policy of Europe and the United States.


A lethal injection room in Alabama (Photo courtesy of The Guardian)


The drug, sodium thiopental, is a sedative commonly used in administering executions.  It can only be exported from Europe after authorization by national authorities.


The reason for the restriction is to “prevent their use for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”


The move was cheered by opponents of the death penalty.


The restriction forbids the sale of the drug to countries that practice the death penalty.  It is consistent with the opposition to the death penalty expressed in the European Charter:  “[T]he European Union opposes the death penalty under all circumstances. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union states that no one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed. In this regard, the decision today contributes to the wider EU efforts to abolish the death penalty worldwide.”


The impact of the regulation is yet to be known in countries that practice the death penalty.  States like Ohio, Texas, and Georgia that execute people often have taken to using alternative drugs and looking to other countries overseas to meet its demand.  Switching to the use of alternative drugs, however, places a burden on states that want to perform lethal injections by complicating the process of obtaining the drugs.


Tuesday’s announcement is effort to cut the supply of drugs for executions.  In April, Great Britain announced a ban on exportation to the U.S. of three drugs used for lethal injections. An Indian pharmaceutical manufacturer that supplied sodium thiopental to Nebraska announced it would stop supplying the drug to American prison officials.  In July, a Danish manufacturer attempted to quell the sale of its drug for executions by making its distributors promise they would not use the drug for that purpose.


Europe’s new regulation will make it more difficult for prisons to replenish supplies in the future.  It is also difficult for regulators to promise that the drugs will not be sold to prison through the back door.  In order to prevent manufacturers from circumventing the regulations, the European Council has retained the power to add other drugs to the ban as it sees fit.


In the United States, lethal injections have become the main method of executions in recent years.


Since 2007, the E.U. has called for a worldwide halt on the death penalty.

Via Impunity Watch.



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Filed under Crime and Punishment, International Justice

Troy Davis Funeral Will Be Held Saturday

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Funeral services for Troy Davis have been set for Saturday at Jonesville Baptist Church, according to his sister, Kimberly Davis.

Mr. Davis died by lethal injection on September 21 at the Jackson Correctional Institute in Jackson, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta.

Thousands of supporters worldwide protested Mr. Davis’s execution, saying the case raised too many doubts about his guilt.

Mr. Davis’s mother, Virginia Davis, died in April. The family says they are glad she did not live to see her son executed.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, Notable Passings

Troy Davis Executed

Troy Davis was put to death by injection in Georgia on Wednesday night despite many last-ditch attempts by his lawyers and supporters to stay the execution. His time of death was 11:08 p.m.

Davis was scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. for the 1989 killing of Mark MacPhail, but the proceeding was delayed more than three hours as the Justices pondered a plea filed by his attorneys after last-ditch appeals failed throughout the day.

Davis had been scheduled to die three times before, most recently in October 2008. That time, the U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution two hours before it was scheduled.

The case has drawn international attention, with Pope Benedict XVI, South African anti-apartheid leader Desmond Tutu and former President Jimmy Carter saying the execution should be called off. Amnesty International and the NAACP have led efforts to exonerate Davis, and U.N. human rights officials joined those calls Wednesday.

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Filed under Breaking, Crime and Punishment, Notable Passings, Sidebar

DEA Confiscates Black Market Lethal Injection Drug

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The United States Drug Enforcement Agency has confiscated several states’ supplies of sodium thiopental amid concerns that the lethal injection drug was obtained on the black market.

On January 28, 2011, the only American company to manufacture the drug stopped production. Soon after, a Swiss company forbade distributors from exporting the drug to the United States. Then in April, the United Kingdom banned all exports of sodium thiopental, encouraging all states in the European Union to follow suit to cut off all supplies of the American lethal injection drug.

Most states are now left without a method of lethal injection. Ohio and Oklahoma are currently using a substitute.

Via Impunity Watch.

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