The United Nations human rights office on Friday condemned the bungled and chaotic execution of an Oklahoma death-row inmate, which left him thrashing on the gurney during a chaotic process that lasted nearly two hours.To be clear: Lockett was convicted of a horrific crime. There doesn't seem to be much question of his guilt. This was not a nice guy. But this is not a question about what type of person Clayton Lockett was, it's a question of what type of people we want to be.
"The suffering of Clayton Lockett during his execution in Oklahoma on Tuesday, 29 April, may amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment according to international human rights law," said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights.Please read below the fold for more on this story.
Colville said that the execution also appeared to run counter to the US constitution, which bars "cruel and unusual punishment". He told reporters: "The prolonged death of Clayton Lockett is the second case of apparent extreme suffering caused by malfunctioning lethal injections reported in 2014 in the United States," referring to the case of Dennis McGuire, executed in Ohio in January with an allegedly untested combination of drugs.
I wrote about the Ohio execution in January. In that case, ghoulish Ohio Assistant Attorney General Thomas Madden shrugged it off, saying the convicted killer "wasn't 'entitled to a pain-free execution'."
Let's also be clear about why this is happening:
States have been struggling to find the drugs to carry out lethal injections, with two key shortages stemming from objections made by European companies or officials.Europe won't sell the drugs needed to execute people, so states are desperately trying to find alternative means. Because it's so important to keep killing people. Despite there being no evidence that executions deter criminals.
According to Amnesty International, these are the countries that executed people in 2013, in order of number of executions:
China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, United States, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Japan, Viet Nam, Taiwan, Indonesia, Kuwait, South Sudan, Nigeria, Palestinian Authority (Gaza), Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Botswana, India, North KoreaSterling company, and the U.S. rates fifth among them. And despite the lack of evidence that executions deter crime, with European suppliers of the necessary poisons refusing to enable the barbarity, states that still execute are so desperate to continue the barbarity that they're experimenting with ever more barbaric means of doing so.