Sunday 22 October 2017

When do we lose the right to choose?

Terminally-ill Noel Conway (67)
Terminally-ill Noel Conway (67)
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

Arguably the greatest stain on America's conscience, the death penalty is an obscenity that has no place in a civilised society. Apart from the obvious horror of executing an innocent person, the state-sanctioned murder of even a genuinely guilty individual reduces the people - in whose name the act is committed - to the same moral level as the criminal. In other words, it is a declaration that the state's moral bottom line is no better than a killer's.

It has been interesting and heartening to see so many American states either freeze or abandon the policy, and one of the reasons is because the drugs don't work.

As the chemicals already in their possession degrade, and more pharma companies refuse to supply fresh stocks, there has been growing horror among prison staff, even among some death-penalty advocates, that a lethal injection is not just a death sentence, but a form of terminal torture which leaves the condemned to slowly suffocate in an form of agonised paralysis.

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