Death penalty in the USA: Court allows convicted murderer to be executed with nitrogen

In the USA, the first death row prisoner may soon be executed using nitrogen in the state of Alabama.

Death penalty in the USA: Court allows convicted murderer to be executed with nitrogen

In the USA, the first death row prisoner may soon be executed using nitrogen in the state of Alabama. The Alabama Supreme Court on Wednesday paved the way for a method that has never been used before to carry out the death penalty.

As various US media reported, the all-Republican court decided by a vote of six to two in favor of the Attorney General's request for an execution order for Kenneth Eugene Smith. The court did not provide any explanations for the decision. Alabama's attorney general predictably welcomed the decision. The convicted man's lawyers criticized this and announced an objection.

Smith was convicted in 1988 along with another man for the contract murder of a woman. A first attempt at execution by lethal injection last year failed because Smith's execution team was unable to establish the two required intravenous lines. Note: You can read a detailed article about this here at stern Plus.

Now, Governor Kay Ivey must set a new date for the execution. Although the approved application did not specify a method of execution, court documents reportedly indicate execution by nitrogen hypoxia.

The method has been approved in Alabama since 2018. Due to a long-standing shortage of appropriate medication for lethal injection, alternative methods are being sought. Nitrogen hypoxia is also approved in the states of Oklahoma and Mississippi. The condemned person then breathes in nitrogen instead of oxygen through a mask, first faints and then dies. Proponents see it as a painless and quick method of execution.

However, it has not yet been used in the USA. Critics describe them as human experiments and also warn that the method could also endanger prison staff and pastors who are in the execution chamber if the breathing mask slips and the gas escapes.

Quellen: AP,  "Alabama Reflector", Death Penalty Information Center

In the gallery: Despite increased tolerance and liberalization in many countries, LGBT people are at risk of death in some countries.

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