Call for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty after Oklahoma executionListen /
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says that the suffering of a prisoner during his execution in Oklahoma in the US this week may amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, according to international human rights law.
Clayton Lockett had been sentenced to death for shooting a 19-year-old woman and watching as two accomplices buried her alive. On Tuesday, lethal drugs were injected into a vein in his groin but it's believed that the vein had collapsed.
Lockett died of a heart attack 10 minutes after his execution was stopped, having been writhing and mumbling.
Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, says that the US should impose an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
"The prolonged death of Clayton Lockett is the second case of apparent extreme suffering caused by malfunctioning lethal injections reported this year alone in the United States. The other case was that of Dennis McGuire, who was executed by the State of Ohio on 16 January 2014 with an allegedly untested combination of drugs." (20″)
Thirty-two out of 50 states in the US still have the power to sentence prisoners to death. The UN opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has called for an independent review of the state’s execution protocols.
Nicki Chadwick, UN Radio, Geneva.