Arizona wants to use chemical used in Nazi concentration camps to execute prisoners

The last time that Arizona executed a prisoner using gas was in 1999

Mayank Aggarwal@journomayank
Wednesday 02 June 2021 09:51
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<p>Zyklon labels from Dachau concentration camp used as evidence at the Nuremberg trials; the first and third panels contain manufacturer information and the brand name, the centre panel reads ‘Poison Gas! Cyanide preparation to be opened and used only by trained personnel'</p>

Zyklon labels from Dachau concentration camp used as evidence at the Nuremberg trials; the first and third panels contain manufacturer information and the brand name, the centre panel reads ‘Poison Gas! Cyanide preparation to be opened and used only by trained personnel'

The US state of Arizona wants to restart executions, paused for the past seven years, with the help of hydrogen cyanide, the lethal gas used in Nazi death camps.

Since 2014, there has not been any execution carried out in the Republican-controlled state where currently there are 115 inmates on death row. In 2014, the execution of a prisoner, Joseph Wood, had gone wrong as it took two hours and 15 injections before he was declared dead.

Arizona’s corrections department has already spent over $2,000 (£1,411) on the ingredients required to make the deadly cyanide gas, reported The Jerusalem Post. The money has been spent on buying a solid brick of potassium cyanide, sodium hydroxide pellets and sulfuric acid.

The state is gearing up to allegedly use Zyklon B, the lethal cyanide-based chemical used in the gas chambers in Nazi Germany to murder over a million Jews and others between 1942-1945.

Arizona’s gas chamber has not been used for 22 years and the authorities are now conducting checks to ensure it is in an operable condition.

The last person that Arizona executed by gas was German national Walter LaGrand in 1999. The report said, according to a witness account, during that execution it had taken the victim 18 minutes to die and during that time he was coughing violently.

Frank Atwood, 65, convicted of killing a child in 1984, is first one on the list of prisoners on death row.

His attorney Joseph Perkovich said: “Frank Atwood is prepared to die. He is a man of Greek Orthodox faith and is preparing for this moment. But he does not want to be tortured and subjected to a botched execution.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a non-profit, nonpartisan, legal and advocacy organisation, called it “horrifying.”

“The state of Arizona wants to restart executions and is preparing its gas chamber to use hydrogen cyanide, the same lethal gas that was deployed at Auschwitz. This is not justice — it’s horrifying,” ACLU tweeted.

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