Monday, July 04, 2011

4th of July and Hypocrisy Reigns Supreme.

In January of this year, Hospira, the pharmaceutical company that produces sodium thiopental - the anesthetic most states use as the first drug in a three drug cocktail to execute prisoners in the US - ceased production over concerns about its use in executions. Since that time states have been scrambling to get their hands on their next fix on a replacement. After importing sodium thiopental from non-FDA approved sources, the state of Georgia acquired a replacement from Lundbeck, the Nembutol’s Danish manufacturer, who has repeatedly sent letters requesting that it not be used in executions. The manufacturer  “explicitly warned” that “this drug is not safe for use in judicial lethal injections.”

After Georgia's supply of sodium thiopental was seized by the DEA and after acquiring this controversial new sedative,  Roy Willard Blankenship thrashed, and jerked his way to death after its administration.  Mr. Blaankenship was not the first death-row inmate who suffered from a botched lethal injection  involving pentobarbital this year. Eddie Duval Powell also suffered from the administration of this deadly drug.
A death-row prisoner who was executed using a new lethal injection drug 'suffered greatly' during the process, a leading U.S. anaesthesiologist has testified.

Roy Willard Blankenship, who was executed on June 23 using pentobarbital - also known as nembutal - was said to be conscious for approximately the first three minutes of the execution and 'suffered greatly'.

Dr David Waisel, an Associate Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School, also said in the sworn affidavit that 'his eyes were open throughout', according to witness accounts.

He said: 'I can say with certainty that Mr Blankenship was inadequately anaesthetised and was conscious for approximately the first three minutes of the execution.

So, 35-years after the US Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment, the US still remains among the top global executioners. 139 nations abolished the death penalty, but China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United States and Yemen continue to execute people, in direct contradiction to international human rights law. Like the other four countries listed, the death penalty in the United States is/was frequently imposed after unfair trials, where the defendant is almost always poor, uneducated, very often black, and totally vulnerable to a process that lacks fairness and integrity.

 138 innocent people have been sent to death row, and who knows how many victims were sent to their death, guilt-free.  The claim that the US is a progressive force for human rights is complete hypocrisy.

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