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USA: Arkansas executions 'heinous' and 'shameful'

Arkansas executed two men, Jack Jones and Marcel Williams, late last night – the first double execution in the US for 17 years.

The executions were the second and third of four prisoners scheduled to be executed before the state’s supply of lethal injections expires at the end of the month.

Jones was sentenced to death despite the fact that the jury was not told of his serious mental disabilities.

James Clark, senior campaigner at Amnesty International USA, said:

“Arkansas continues its shameful backslide against prevailing trends away from the death penalty.

“The sentences of Jack Jones and Marcel Williams are another heinous example of how the death penalty is applied to people with severe mental impairments and history of abuse. 

“This conveyer belt of death must stop immediately by commuting the remaining sentences, and abolishing the death penalty once and for all.”

A report released earlier this month by Amnesty International showed that for the first time since 2006, and only the second time since 1991, the US was not among the world's five biggest executioners. The number of executions (20) in 2016 reached the lowest level recorded in any year since 1991. The number of executions has fallen every year since 2009, (except 2012, when it stayed the same).

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