Botched execution in Oklahoma leaves prisoner ‘writhing in agony’

April 30, 2014

A botched execution in Oklahoma last night, which left prisoner Clayton Lockett ‘writhing in agony’, had to be stopped after twenty minutes by prison officials because it was going so badly wrong. Lockett later died of a heart attack caused by the attempted execution.  Oklahoma was using an untested combination of drugs, the source of which they have refused to reveal.

Commenting, Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve’s Death Penalty team said:   “This execution demonstrates that without transparency, there is a far higher risk of causing extreme suffering to the prisoner. States need to stop conducting secretive, experimental executions. The contortions which executioners are going through to try to present these killings as constitutional demonstrates the fundamental contradiction in the premise of the so-called ‘humane execution’.

“It is also a clear demonstration of why no responsible pharmaceutical firm or pharmacy wants to get involved in selling drugs to executioners. How many more of these horrifying events will it take before the authorities in Oklahoma and elsewhere get the message?”

ENDS

Notes to editors   1. For further information, please contact: clemency.wells@reprieve.org.uk / +44 (0) 207 553 8161 or katherine.oshea@reprieve.org / +1 917 855 8064.