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Arizona is rebuilding the Gas House to resume executions

PHOENIX (AP) – Aiming to resume executions after a seven-year hiatus, Arizona has rebuilt its gas chamber, where the nation’s last deadly gas execution took place more than two decades ago, before the United States denied the brutal deaths.

The state has obtained materials to make hydrogen cyanide gas, which was used during some previous executions in the United States, in which the Nazis killed 865,000 Jews in the Auschwitz concentration camp alone.

At the end of last year, he criticized the secret renovation of a prison in Florence, southeast of Pyunik, as a harsh approach to punishment, devoid of modern sensitivities.

“Whether or not one supports the death penalty as a common problem, there is a general consensus in American society that the gas used to kill Jews treated with pesticides has no place in criminal justice,” said the American Jewish Committee. wrote in a statement this week.

The penitentiaries refused to say why they were reopening the gas chamber. However, this step comes at a time when states are finding it difficult to obtain lethal injection drugs because manufacturers are refusing to supply them.

At the national level, executions have reached record lows due to a lack of executions, although some states are finding ways to do so. “Last month, South Carolina passed a law requiring those sentenced to death to choose between an electric chair or a newly formed firing squad.”

Arizona also struggled to find drug suppliers, but this spring found out it had acquired a pentobarbital load.

The penitentiaries cited legislative and constitutional requirements that allow death row inmates to choose a gas chamber if convicted of crimes committed prior to the 1992 Arizona lethal injection. The state is one of the fourth ten, whose laws are still in force! books.

It is unclear whether any of the Arizona death row inmates preferred the method.

The Department of State Corrections said in a statement that it was “ready to fulfill its constitutional obligations, to implement court decisions, to bring justice to the families of the victims.”

Lawyers in Arizona who enforce the death penalty law say its implementation protocol does not contain provisions for executing gas chamber executions from 2007 until this year.

Dale Baich, head of the Federal Public Defender’s Office for Arizona Prisoners’ Appeals against the Death Penalty, said he believes the state wants to work with the gas chamber if any of the 17 death row inmates have the right to vote.

“My guess is that with 17 people, the board wants to be ready,” Bych said.

The state’s efforts to make the Gas Chamber operational again were revealed in a note obtained by the Guardian newspaper. Government officials later provided the documents to other media outlets, including The Associated Press.

Records show that in December the authorities bought a brick of potassium cyanide, sodium hydroxide pellets and sulfuric acid to produce cyanide gas.

The rubber seals on the hatch door and windows have been replaced. The exhaust fan in the chemical room has been repaired. Rust was cleaned from the surfaces. The camera levers must be lubricated.

According to the records, a candle was lit near the door and windows to check the air tightness of the chamber, and a smoke grenade was fired from inside to ensure the operation of the air conditioner.

Arizona was executed in 2014 after the death of Joseph Wood, who was suffocating in the air and snoring when he was injected with 15 doses of two drugs in two hours. Woody was executed in 1989 in Tucson for killing his foreign girlfriend, Debra Ditz, and his father, Eugene Ditz.

Two months ago, prosecutors announced that they would try to execute two prisoners, Frank Atwood and Clarence Dixon.

Dixon was sentenced to death in 1978 for the murder of 21-year-old Diana Bowdoin in the Marikopa area. Atwood was executed in 1984 for the murder of 8-year-old Vicky Lynn Hoskinson, whose body was found in the desert outside Tucson.

The horrific nature of death in gas chambers և The advent of the death penalty injected deaths The United States has turned against deadly gas, says Deborah Denno, a professor at Fordham Law School who has studied executions for more than 25 years.

Historical stories about the execution of a gas chamber show how prisoners suffocate by squeezing their restrained bodies, seeming to be in great pain. A man convicted in Mississippi during his execution in 1983 shook his head on a steel bar.

The last prisoner to be executed at the American Gas Palace was Walter Lagran, the second of two German brothers to be sentenced to death in 1982 for killing a bank manager in southern Arizona. In 1999, Lagran died 18 minutes later.

Both brothers chose the gas chamber, hoping that the courts would make the method unconstitutional. While Carl Lagrane accepted the state’s last-minute lethal injection offer, Walter Lagrane rejected it, saying he would prefer a more painful death penalty to protest the death penalty.

The case drew widespread criticism in Germany, which has no death penalty, and repeated diplomatic protests.

The upgrading of the Arizona Gas Chamber is again condemned internationally, including in Israel և Germany and Germany, drawing parallels with the Holocaust.

Asked to comment on the criticism, Republican Governor Doug Dussay’s spokesman S. Kara: Karamargin said. “Pet. The other is behind the law because it is written in the Arizona Constitution. In many of these cases, the victims have been waiting for justice for a long time. “

“The last gas. In The Rise and Fall of the American Gas Chamber, Scott Christianson said that 594 people died as a result of the deadly gas executions in the United States between 1924 and 1999.

Although, according to some, the Nazis invented the gas palace, the first one for the execution was built in Njada, first used in 1924, writes Christianson.

The chamber was a by-product of chemical warfare research conducted by the US military during World War I. The Third Reich later expanded its use at the industrial level to slaughter millions, he writes.

“Even after Auschwitz, the abolition of the gas chamber in the United States took more than 50 years,” Christianson wrote in his 2010 book.

In Arizona, California, Missouri and Wyoming, the laws on the use of deadly gas remain on the books.

In recent years, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama have enacted laws that allow the execution of nitrogen gas, at least in some cases, although experts say it has never been done, and no state has approved a protocol that would allow it.

Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, who criticized the way executions are carried out in the United States, said Arizona officials should have been aware of the gas chambers, given the Zyklon B pesticide used by the Nazis. Its deadly component was hydrogen cyanide gas.

“You have to think about what they were thinking in order to seriously believe that the execution of a prisoner with cyanide gas is morally acceptable in 2021,” Dunham said. ___

Associated Press writer Jon Onathan Coop. Cooper at Phoenix contributed to this report.

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