Activists have gathered in Little Rock to protest the state’s plans to execute seven people in 10 days starting next week. The executions are scheduled before the state’s lethal injection supply expires at the end of the month.
“While the death penalty is unacceptable in any circumstance, the horrific rate of executions scheduled in Arkansas for this month shocks all sense of decency,” said James Clark, death penalty campaigner with Amnesty International USA. “The fact that these executions are pegged to the expiration of a lethal drug that has proven to be problematic is especially appalling.”
The drug set to expire, midazolam, was used in the execution of an Oklahoma prisoner that had to be halted midway through. The prisoner died of a heart attack as a result.
Over 100,000 people have signed a petition to Gov. Hutchinson calling for the sentences to be commuted and for the death penalty to be abolished:
“Rushing through executions on a conveyor belt simply because of an expiration date damages the dignity of all involved and gives a sickening image of Arkansas’ justice system,” the petition reads. “Rapid executions increase the risk of human error, and the drug they are rushing to use has already been shown to make prisoners die in agony.”