Europe’s hostility to capital punishment at origin of U.S. execution drug dilemma

Galleries - Capital Punishmentby: Dallas Morning News 
published: 18 February 2014

There’s one big reason why the United States has a dearth of execution drugs so acute that some states are considering solutions such as firing squads and gas chambers: Europe’s fierce hostility to capital punishment.

The phenomenon started nine years ago when the EU banned the export of products used for execution, citing its goal to be the “leading institutional actor and largest donor to the fight against the death penalty.” But beefed up European rules mean the results are being most strongly felt in the United States now, with shortages becoming chronic and gruesome executions making headlines.

In Ohio last month, Dennis McGuire took 26 minutes to die after a previously untested mix of chemicals began flowing into his body, gasping repeatedly as he lay on a gurney. On Jan. 9, Oklahoma inmate Michael Lee Wilson’s last words were: “I feel my whole body burning.”

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