European Union countries do not allow drugs used for execution to be exported to the United States. The reason? European countries have a fierce hostility toward capital punishment, according to an Associated Press interpretive story.
“There’s one big reason the United States has a dearth of execution drugs so acute that some states are considering solutions such as firing squads and gas chambers,” Juergen Baetz of the AP reported.
“The phenomenon started nine years ago when the EU banned the export of products used for execution, citing its goal to be the ‘leading institutional actor and largest donor to the fight against the death penalty,’” the AP reported.
Despite the EU – and an Oklahoma pharmacy’s – strong opposition to lethal injections, the U. S. continues to find means to mix chemicals for use in executing inmates sentenced to death.
During a 2014 execution in Oklahoma, witnesses heard Michael Lee Wilson say, after the lethal injection, “I feel my whole body burning.”
In another Oklahoma death penalty case, inmate “Michael Taylor’s representatives had argued in a lawsuit that recent executions involving the drug pentobarbital would likely cause ‘inhumane pain,’” the AP reported.
Since the state of Ohio could not procure the powerful sedative pentobarbital, it took Dennis McGuire 26 minutes to die after a previously untested mix of chemicals began flowing into his body, gasping repeatedly as he lay on the gurney, the story reported.
In 2010, the state of Louisiana switched from the established three-drug protocol to a one-drug pentobarbital lethal injection, but eventually that drug also became unavailable because of European pressure.
“EU nations are notorious for disagreeing about most everything when it comes to common policy, but they all strongly — and proudly — agree on one thing: abolishing capital punishment”
The AP confirmed that Louisiana is experimenting with the same two untested drugs used in Ohio, “even though convicts’ lawyers and activists argue they increase the risk of painful prolonged death and may violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.”
“The execution was scheduled for February, but was stayed pending a federal judge’s examination in April regarding whether the state can proceed with the plan to execute Christopher Sepulvado, convicted in the 1992 killing of his 6-year-old stepson,” the report said.
“EU nations are notorious for disagreeing about most everything when it comes to common policy, but they all strongly — and proudly — agree on one thing: abolishing capital punishment,” according to the opinion of AP reporter Juergen Baetz.
Totalitarian regimes abused the death penalty up through the 20th century. Consequently, European public opinion is staunchly opposed to it, said the story.
The report continued, “The EU’s uncompromising stance has set off a cat-and-mouse game, with U.S. corrections departments devising new ways to carry out lethal injections only to hit updated export restrictions within months.”
Barba Lochbihler, chair of the European Parliament subcommittee on human rights, said, “Our political task is to push for an abolition of the death penalty, not facilitate its procedure.”
“The lethal injection that they’re using now in certain states has never been tested, verified let alone been approved for executions,” said Maya Foa of Reprieve, a Lond-based charity fighting the death penalty “This amounts to using humans as guinea pigs. No doctor would ever do that.”