Human Rights

Oklahoma halts executions for 6 months


A court in the US state of Oklahoma has agreed to halt all executions in the state for six months until an investigation of the botched lethal injection procedure on Clayton Lockett is completed.

On April 29, Lockett, 38, died of a heart attack 43 minutes after his execution was halted due to a botched lethal injection, triggering accusations of torture. Human rights groups have condemned the death and called for an impartial investigation into the matter.

On Thursday, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals delayed the execution of Charles Warner, the next death-row inmate scheduled to die by lethal injection, until November 13.

The convict was originally scheduled to be put to death last week when Lockett was executed.

“If the state is allowed to enforce the ultimate penalty of death, it is incumbent upon this court to allow the state the time necessary to ensure that the penalty is carried out in a constitutionally sound manner,” Justice Charles Johnson wrote in a specially concurring opinion.

“While the stay only applies to Warner, the attorney general [Scott Pruitt] and governor [Mary Fallin] have said Oklahoma will not carry out any executions until the investigation is finished, which is expected to take at least eight weeks.

Lockett was administered a new and untested three-drug combination. Following the injection of the three lethal drugs, Lockett writhed on the gurney, clenched his teeth, and strained to lift his head off the pillow before he died, according to witnesses.

His lawyers said he was tortured to death and called for an independent investigation and autopsy to learn what really went wrong. “It was a horrible thing to witness. This was totally botched,” said Lockett’s attorney,

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