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Arizona execution: Need to investigate UK's supply of lethal injection drug

Responding to reports that a UK company supplied the drug used as part of the lethal injection in the execution earlier today of Jeffrey Landrigan, a prisoner in the state of Arizona in the United States, Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“If sodium thiopental was supplied by a UK company to the state of Arizona for use in Jeffrey Landrigan’s execution then this raises serious questions about whether there are proper controls on equipment that could be used to torture and kill.

“We need an investigation into how this could have happened and we also need to see EU controls on these kinds of exports tightened up so they are banned in future.

“The UK promised in 2008 to lead efforts to strengthen EU controls on death penalty and torture equipment for precisely these reasons. No substantial progress has been made since this commitment. That urgently needs to change.”

Amnesty International has previously documented how lethal injection executions in the United States and elsewhere have caused excruciating pain and extreme mental suffering before death, with prisoners trapped in a “chemical straitjacket” when the cocktail of three drugs is administered.

Amnesty meanwhile continues to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances.

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