Tuesday, February 27, 2024

This is how a prisoner died with nitrogen in the US: his agony lasted 29 minutes

The state of Alabama, in the southern United States, carried out the first execution of a death row prisoner using nitrogen gas on January 25, in the first use of this method in the country that the UN equates to “torture.”

Inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith, sentenced to death in 1996 for killing a woman at the behest of his romantic partner, was pronounced dead at 8:25 p.m., 29 minutes after the killing began, according to a statement from the Alabama attorney general. .
“Justice has been served. Tonight, Kenneth Smith was killed for the terrible act he committed 35 years ago,” declared Steve Marshall, saying that Alabama “has done something historic. ”

How did Kenneth Smith kill nitrogen?

Kenneth Smith inhales nitrogen through a mask. Journalists who witnessed the execution reported that, after the gas began to flow, the prisoner trembled for a few moments and was then seen breathing heavily for several minutes.

Nitrogen gas flowed into Smith for about 20 minutes or more. Because of this killing, the European Union (EU) considers this type of killing to be “cruel and unusual.”

“The EU strongly opposes the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances. “It constitutes a violation of the right to life and the absolute denial of human dignity,” said the spokesperson of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Peter Stano.

He emphasized that the execution was carried out by forcing the prisoner to breathe pure nitrogen, depriving him of the oxygen needed to maintain body functions, causing nitrogen hypoxia.

Kenneth Eugene Smith, 58, appealed to the United States Supreme Court, alleging that this new execution attempt violated his constitutional rights, and asked that it be stayed. All appeals he previously filed in Alabama were rejected.

But the country’s highest court, with a majority of conservative judges, rejected the request on Wednesday.

In its arguments, the state of Alabama noted that nitrogen hypoxia is “probably the most humane method of killing ever invented.”

“Alabama authorities failed in three consecutive executions in 2022, including that of Mr. Smith,” said the executive director of the special observatory Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), Robin Maher.

“Maybe they feel more comfortable moving to a completely different way of killing, even if it’s completely experimental and untested,” he told AFP.

“I’m still traumatized from the last time,” the inmate confessed in December in an interview with public radio NPR, where he admitted to being “absolutely terrified” of the possibility of going through the same thing.

In 1988, he was convicted of the murder of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett, 45, ordered by her husband, Charles Sennett, a deeply indebted and dishonest pastor, to make it look like a robbery gone wrong. .

Although the husband committed suicide, the police followed the path of the murder that led to the deaths of the two men. Kenneth Eugene Smith’s partner, John Forrest Parker, who was sentenced to death, was executed in 2010.

World Nation News Desk
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