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Oklahoma plans to resume executions, with inert gas or nitrogen

Oklahoma plans to resume executions, with inert gas or nitrogen

In 2016, the state's multicounty grand jury recommended Oklahoma use nitrogen gas as the execution method given the increasing difficulty in obtaining the proper drugs for lethal injections.

State officials made the announcement Wednesday, saying they cannot get the drugs needed for lethal injections because some drugmakers oppose having their products used in executions.

Oklahoma is turning to nitrogen after it, and other states, have been unable to acquire drugs required for lethal injections due to opposition from manufacturers to their products being used for capital punishment.

Hunter said using nitrogen is the best way for Oklahoma to resume executions.

Since 2015, state law has allowed for execution by nitrogen hypoxia if lethal injection is unavailable.

Oklahoma is among 31 USA states that permit the death penalty and it has carried out 112 executions, the third highest number for a U.S. state, since 1976 when capital punishment was reinstated, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a non-profit capital punishment monitor.

"It is a common procedure in states and in countries that allow for assisted suicide", Hunter said. "Using an IGI will be effective, simple to administer, easy to obtain, and requires no complex medical procedures".

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In 2014, Oklahoma drew intense scrutiny for its death-penalty procedures after the execution of Clayton Lockett gained global attention.

Death penalty policy experts said that if a federal court approved the method, it would take at least six months - and probably longer - for such an execution to be carried out.

There's a nationwide shortage of an anesthetic component of a three-part mixture used in some lethal injections.

Hunter and Allbaugh announced that the state will move forward with executions by method of "inert gas inhalation", reports CBS affiliate KWTV.

The House Intelligence Committee has set itself a March 22 deadline to make changes to a draft report authored by panel Republicans, at which point they plan to adopt the report as final and send it on to the intelligence community for any necessary redactions of classified information. When nitrogen gas was approved as a backup method in Oklahoma, the corrections department said there was no protocol in place, and that remained the case Wednesday, almost two years later.

State lawmakers then passed a law approving use of the gas.


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