Friday, June 18, 2021

South Carolina court halts executions until firing squad is available

A high court in the US state of South Carolina has blocked two executions until the inmates are given the choice of death by electrocution or firing squad.A new law requires inmates on death row to decide between the two methods if lethal drugs are not available.

BBC NEWS

But as prison authorities have not yet formed a firing squad, the executions have been halted by the supreme court.

Inmates Brad Sigmon and Freddie Owens were due to be executed this month.

The convicted murderers were denied lethal injections - their favoured option - because prison authorities did not have the drugs needed.

A shortage of these drugs has led to a 10-year pause in this method of execution in the state.

The new law, which came into effect last month, was designed to close a loophole that allowed inmates to indefinitely postpone their executions if the drugs were not available.

Given the lack of a firing squad, electrocution was the only method of execution available in the state.

But lawyers for Sigmon and Owens challenged the use of the method in court, arguing their clients have the right to die by lethal injection.

They petitioned the South Carolina Supreme Court to stop the planned executions of their clients until their appeals had been heard.

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