Amnesty International USA Statement on Lethal Injection

Press Release
January 16, 2014

Amnesty International USA Statement on Lethal Injection

Washington, D.C. — Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, Steven W. Hawkins, released the following statement on the use of untested lethal injection drugs in the execution of an Ohio inmate.

"From Ohio inmate Dennis McGuire's reported gasps and convulsions before dying, to Michael Lee Wilson's final words, I feel like my whole body is burning’, it is clear the world needs to pay close attention to how people in the United States are executed.

“We all should be outraged that states are experimenting with never tried before, controversial lethal injection protocols as well as passing measures that allow them to keep information about where they get their supply a secret. Capital punishment is not just a violation of our human right to life, but it is also a violation of the eighth amendment.

“More than two-thirds of the world have ended the death penalty in law or practice, 18 states in the United States have done so as well. The global trend is clear, the world is moving away from capital punishment, it's time for other state's in our nation to do the same. The movement for abolition is growing, with every execution and with every state that decides to rid itself of the death penalty. People of all ages, everywhere are saying, we cannot justify the taking of someone's life in our name, not anymore"

Steven Hawkins, AIUSA Executive Director is a nationally renowned attorney and grassroots advocacy leader at the forefront of death penalty abolition movement and is an expert on lethal injection protocols in the U.S. Hawkins began his career in social justice as an attorney, where for nearly six years he represented African American men facing the death penalty. During this period, he investigated and brought litigation that led to the successful release of three teenagers wrongfully convicted in Tennessee. He later would play a crucial role in helping end death penalty for juvenile crimes and getting a number of manufacturers to stop supplying drugs used for executions.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.