A federal judge has blocked one of eight scheduled executions from going forward in Arkansas this month, saying that the case should have more time to be considered after the state parole board recommended clemency.
Earlier in the day, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) called on Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson to halt the executions, which are scheduled over a period of 10 days later this month, with some happening twice a day.
“All of the scheduled executions must be halted for good,” said James Clark, campaigner at AIUSA. “While the death penalty is unacceptable in any case, the judicial process should not be cut short for something as trivial as an expiration date when the stakes are so high.”
The letter to the governor was signed by Margaret Huang, executive director of AIUSA, and read in part: “While there can be no ‘humane’ way for the state to kill a human being, we ask that you consider the fact that Arkansas is rushing to be able to use a drug that has been shown to make prisoners die in agony.”
“Justice is not served by these or any executions,” the letter concludes. “Please consider the dignity and human rights of these eight men, and the image of the state of Arkansas presented to the world by these rapid executions.”
A copy of the letter can be found at: http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/6april2017-honorable_asa_hutchinson.pdf
Amnesty International experts are available for comment and will be in Arkansas next week.