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Rapporteur calls on Governor of Arkansas not to proceed with planned executions

"I am extremely shocked that the US Federal State of Arkansas, which has not executed any prisoners since 2005, is planning to carry out seven executions in the space of eleven days, the first of these on 17 April and the others to follow on 20, 24 and 27 April," said Yves Cruchten, PACE's general rapporteur on abolition of the death penalty.

"It is made all the more deplorable by the fact that the urgency of these executions is dictated by the close expiry date of stocks of midazolam, a highly controversial sedative used in lethal injections. The use of this sedative can result in cruel and inhumane treatment since, according to a number of experts, midazolam does not sufficiently sedate the prisoner," the rapporteur pointed out.

"I call on the Governor of Arkansas not to carry out these 'executions by assembly line' and not to deploy this controversial sedative. Furthermore, I unreservedly call on the United States to carefully consider not only the lawfulness of how lethal injections are administered but also the very nature of the death penalty, which in any circumstances is a cruel and inhumane sanction," he concluded.