US government orders first executions since 2003


“The justice department upholds the rule of law and we owe it to the victims and their families," said attorney general William BarrImage copyright Reuters
Image caption “The justice department upholds the rule of law and we owe it to the victims and their families,” said Attorney General William Barr

The US federal government is to resume executing death-row inmates after nearly two decades without an execution, the justice department said.

Attorney General William Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to schedule the executions of five inmates convicted of murder and other crimes.

Mr Barr said the five had been convicted of murders or rapes of children and the elderly.

The executions have been scheduled for December 2019 and January 2020.

Mr Barr said in a statement: “The justice department upholds the rule of law and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”

There are 62 inmates on federal death row but the last federal execution was in 2003. In a statement released on Thursday, Mr Barr said executions would resume with the deaths of five inmates “convicted of murdering, and in some cases torturing and raping, the most vulnerable in our society – children and the elderly”.

The death penalty was outlawed at state and federal level by a 1972 Supreme Court decision but reinstated in 1988.

According to data collected by the Death Penalty Information Center, 78 people were sentenced to death between 1988 and 2018, but only have been since executed.

Mr Barr instructed the BOP to adopt an addendum that allows them to use the single drug Pentobarbital in place of a three-drug procedure previously used in federal executions.

Read the full article at: bbc.com