UK firm 'has sold enough drugs to execute 90 inmates'

Another prisoner on death row in the US is set to be executed today with a drug bought from a British company.

Newly released documents reveal that Georgia is the second state to have bought sodium thiopental, one of three drugs used in lethal injections, from Dream Pharma, a small wholesale company based in Acton, west London. The state is due to use it in the execution of convicted murderer Emmanuel Hammond later today.

A judge in Georgia said yesterday that the drug had already been used to execute another of the state's inmates, Brandon Rhode, in September.

Dream Pharma, run from the offices of Elgone Driving Academy by Mehdi "Matt" Alavi, also exported sodium thiopental and two other drugs used in the procedure to Arizona, where they were used in an execution in October.

Reprieve, a group which campaigns against use of the death penalty, said that new documents suggested Dream Pharma had exported enough of the drug to America to execute at least 90 people. Mr Alavi, 50, said earlier this month that he had "no idea" why the warden of the Arizona State Prison Complex ordered the drugs. However, documents that came to light in court proceedings in Georgia suggest he was well aware that they were needed for executing prisoners. In emails obtained by Reprieve, state officials told Mr Alavi they used the thiopental injection "in its death sentence cases". He replied he was "more than happy to assist" in delivering the chemical.

Mr Alavi would not comment when approached by The Independent yesterday. The Georgia Department of Corrections ordered two 25-vial packs of sodium thiopental, at £91.88 per pack, on 15 July last year and another 25-vial pack on 4 August. Since then, the Government has banned the export of sodium thiopental for use in lethal injections. However, it remains legal to export the other drugs used in the procedure. Sodium thiopental is injected first to bring about unconsciousness, after which pancuronium bromide is administered to cause paralysis, followed by potassium chloride, which triggers a heart attack.

US states have struggled to source sodium thiopental because of production problems at the country's only domestic supplier, Hospira. The firm has since announced it will no longer make the compound.

Lawyers for Hammond failed in an attempt to have his execution delayed yesterday, despite handing the judge a letter in support of their case from the British Foreign Office. Reprieve had asked the Government to intervene.

Last year, British diplomats wrote to the US State Department to complain that prisoners were being put to death using drugs sourced in Britain. Reprieve has also demanded further details from Mr Alavi of which other states he supplies with execution drugs.

"It is not too late for Mr Alavi to come forward and help save Emanuel's life," said Clive Stafford Smith, the director of Reprieve.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business. said: "The Business Secretary is willing to consider future requests of use of other drugs in such circumstances based on fact and without impacting on legitimate trade."

Condemned to die by lethal injection

Emmanuel Hammond, who is due to be executed today, has been on death row in Georgia since 1988 for killing Julie Love, 27. He raped the nursery teacher and shot her in the head. For his last meal he has requested a fried chicken dinner, ice cream and cherry limeade.

Yesterday, Hammond's lawyers failed to get his execution delayed after they raised concerns about the quality of the sodium thiopental that state officials had obtained from London-based Dream Pharma. However, the judge revealed that the British batch of the drug had already been used to execute another prisoner, Brandon Rhode, in September.

Rhode, 31, was apparently so terrified of the lethal injection process that he attempted suicide to avoid it.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference