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General rapporteur deeply regrets executions at federal level in the US

Vladimir Vardanyan (Armenia, EPP/CD), PACE General Rapporteur on the abolition of the death penalty, expressed his deep regret at the executions at a federal level in the United States of Corey Johnson and Dustin Higgs, respectively on 14 and 16 January.

“Whilst I have every sympathy for all those affected by the crimes, I am very disappointed that President Donald Trump’s administration proceeded with these two executions only a few days before President Joe Biden’s inauguration. It is all the more deplorable that the use of the lethal drug – pentobarbital - could have caused additional and conscious suffering of the two convicts, shortly after they had recovered from Covid-19.

The death penalty is always a cruel and inhuman punishment, whatever the crime, and it should no longer be applied in democratic States that respect human rights. The 13 executions carried out at a federal level between July 2020 and January 2021 go against the growing abolitionist trend in individual States within the USA and worldwide.

I call again on the federal authorities of the United States, an observer State at the Council of Europe, not to proceed with any further execution and to end capital punishment at a federal level, in line with our shared values as spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and relevant international treaties.”