Too many problems killing: Alabama suspends executions for the time being

In Alabama, law enforcement has admitted to complications in nearly every execution in recent months.

Too many problems killing: Alabama suspends executions for the time being

In Alabama, law enforcement has admitted to complications in nearly every execution in recent months. Governor Ivey is therefore pulling the emergency brake. However, she does not blame incorrect practices for the problems, but the death row inmates themselves.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has suspended all executions in the state after several problems with the implementation of the death penalty. The 78-year-old Republican also wants her state's Correctional Services Department to conduct a full investigation into lethal injection procedures and practices to prevent further errors. "The families of the victims expect justice and that they can put the loss through," Ivey explained her decision. "This is only possible with a clear conscience if we can guarantee that the penalty will be implemented."

In the United States, 16 people have been executed since the beginning of the year, most recently three men in the states of Arizona, Oklahoma and Texas last week. Another scheduled execution in Alabama was canceled at the last minute. Due to legal disputes in several instances, there was ultimately no time to implement the execution order against Kenneth Smith, which expired at midnight. He was sentenced to death for a contract killing in 1988.

The Smith case was the second time in the past two months that the Alabama Correctional Service had to call off an execution at short notice. In September, death row inmate Alan Eugene Miller was briefly spared lethal injection after it became clear that the execution staff would not be able to carry out the execution in the time allotted.

There were also problems in Alabama with the last death penalty that was successfully implemented: In July, the responsible personnel needed three hours before they found a suitable vein for the execution of Joe Nathan James. "A completely normal process," explained a prison official afterwards. James, 49, murdered his ex-girlfriend in 1994.

In her statement, Governor Ivey does not blame the Alabama law enforcement agencies and judiciary for the problems. Instead, she accuses the inmates of working with legal tricks: "Criminals exploit gaps in the system," said the 78-year-old.

Opponents of the death penalty in the US praise Ivey's decision to temporarily suspend the death penalty in Alabama. At the same time, they criticize the fact that the prison authorities should investigate the procedure and procedure themselves. "The authorities have repeatedly covered up their failures in the past," it says. "It is impossible for them to reveal their own incompetence and wrongdoing."

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