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U.N. Warns Alabama Plan to Execute Prisoner Via Nitrogen Gas Violates Intl. Treaties

HeadlineJan 17, 2024

The U.N. Human Rights Office is calling on Alabama to halt its first planned execution of a prisoner using nitrogen gas asphyxiation later this month.

Ravina Shamdasani: “We have serious concerns that Smith’s execution in these circumstances could breach the prohibition on torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, as well as his right to effective remedies. These are rights that are set out in two international human rights treaties that the U.S. is bound by.”

Kenneth Eugene Smith is scheduled to be executed next Thursday, January 25, after losing his appeal at the Alabama Supreme Court. In November 2022, prison officials called off another execution attempt against Smith, after they were unable to establish an IV line for his lethal injection. Smith’s lawyers argued subjecting him to a second execution attempt constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

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