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Kenneth Smith Set to Be Executed Via Nitrogen Gas Asphyxiation After SCOTUS Rejection

HeadlineJan 25, 2024

In Alabama, prison officials are scheduled to execute Kenneth Smith today using nitrogen gas asphyxiation for the first time ever in the United States. On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Smith’s plea to halt the execution. His lawyers argued attempting to execute him for a second time, after he survived a botched lethal injection in 2022, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Another appeal remains pending before a circuit court over using the untested method of execution via nitrogen gas.

The case has gained international attention. A high-profile Italian nonprofit linked to the Vatican spoke out against Smith’s planned execution this week. This is Mario Marazziti, Italian journalist, politician and death penalty abolition advocate.

Mario Marazziti: “Kenneth Smith’s execution risks to be a milestone execution if it happens, because it sets a new standard. It lowers humanity at the level of a state that has a frenzy and a killing fury against one individual. … So it is the litmus test for the level of civilization today, if we are losing the battle of a culture of life, and a culture of death becomes just normal, as it is normal in times of war.”

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