Senators in the US state of Idaho vote to allow death by firing squad

Senators in the US state of Idaho vote to allow death by firing squad

Death row inmates in the western US state of Idaho could be killed by firing squad if lethal injection is not possible, according to a bill passed by the local legislature on Monday.

Approved by a vote of 24 to 11 in the conservative state Senate, the legislation must now be ratified by the governor.

That would make Idaho the fifth US state to approve this method of execution, following Utah, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and South Carolina, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Since 1976 and the end of a brief moratorium on the death penalty in the US, two men and one woman have been executed this way – all in the western state of Utah. The last execution was in 2010.

The US states that have the death penalty have the greatest difficulty in obtaining the substances needed for lethal injection, due to opposition from pharmaceutical companies that do not want to be associated with capital punishment.

A killing by firing squad could only occur in Idaho if lethal injection is not possible.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, denounced the passage of the law as “appalling,” calling the legislation “archaic”.

“A firing squad is particularly gruesome (…), such executions leave lasting scars on all involved,” ACLU Idaho said in a statement.

People killed by firing squad “in all likelihood suffer extreme levels of pain and torture,” the organisation added, citing experts.

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