Arizona asks death row inmate to choose between gas chamber or lethal injection

conservative states of USA they offer those sentenced to death alternative forms of execution such as the gas chamber or firing squad due to the problems caused by lethal injection.

They look to past procedures for executing death row inmates due to difficulties with lethal injections.

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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Arizona set for June 8 the execution of Frank Atwood, convicted in 1987 of the murder of an eight-year-old girland gave him 15 days to choose between lethal injection or gas inhalation.

According to his lawyer, the prison authorities are considering the use of Hydrogen cyanide, the main component of Zyklon-B, a gas associated with the Holocaust. Frank Atwood’s mother was Jewish and fled Austria in 1939 to escape the Nazis, Joseph Perkovich said.

In the United States, only seven states allow the use of lethal gas, but in practice none have used it since 1999.. Most executions are carried out by injecting chemicals.

However, doubts about the legality of this protocol — due to suspicions that it causes unlawful suffering to prisoners — and the refusal of pharmaceutical companies to supply these products have led to a sharp drop in the death penalty in the country.

In Arizona there has been no execution since 2014 when a convict was in agony for two hours after receiving the lethal substance. But state authorities decided to resume the practice this year.

Before Atwood, the forecast is that Clarence Dixon will be executed on May 11, convicted of the murder of a student. He, too, was given two weeks to decide between the gas chamber and lethal injection. His silence meant acceptance of the second option.

In February, the local Jewish community demonstrated against the use of hydrogen cyanide.

“It is appalling that Arizona has chosen Zyklon-B for this purpose, the chemical used by the Nazis at Auschwitz to kill more than a million people,” said Tim Eckstein, who chairs the Council on Jewish Community Relations of the Great Phoenix (JCRC).

In April, South Carolina also caused a stir by offering a prisoner the choice between the firing squad and the electric chair. His execution was stayed by the state Supreme Court.

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