US to resume execution of death row inmates

Federal executions are set to resume in the US

Friday, July 26, 2019

The US federal government is set to resume executing death row inmates, putting an end to a 16-year hiatus.

Attorney General William Barr has instructed the Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions of five men, accused of murdering children, starting in December.

Mr Barr said: “We owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”

In 2014, president Obama ordered a review of capital punishment and issues surrounding the lethal injection, after a botched state execution.

Now the review has been completed, Mr Barr has said executions can resume.

He approved a new procedure in which lethal injections use a single drug, rather than the three-drug cocktail previously used.

Among the most high-profile inmates currently on death row are Dylann Roof, who killed nine black church members during a Bible study session in 2015 at a South Carolina church, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who set off bombs near the Boston Marathon's finish line in 2013, killing three people and wounding more than 260.

The death penalty remains legal in 30 US states, but executions are rare. This decade, Texas has had the highest execution rate with 108.

On a national level, the government has only put three defendants to death since restoring the federal death penalty in 1988, the most recent of which occurred in 2003.

President Trump has often voiced his opinion that the death penalty is an effective deterrent and appropriate punishment for crimes including mass shootings and killing of police officers.

He said last year he wants to “bring the death penalty into vogue” after 11 people were shot in a Pittsburgh synagogue.

On the other side of the debate, Democrat Joe Biden this week called for the elimination of the federal death penalty, after years of supporting it.

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