Penal Reform International welcomes legal amendments to control the export of lethal injection drugs
20 December 2011, the European Commission extended the list of goods subject to export controls, to prevent their use for capital punishment. The export of certain anaesthetics, such as sodium thiopental and pentobarbital, which are used in lethal injections, will now be strictly controlled for all EU Member States.
“Implementing controls to prohibit the trade in equipment used for capital punishment sends a strong message to retentionist states,” says Jacqueline Macalesher, PRI’s Death Penalty Project Manager. “If those states wish to carry out executions, they should not receive assistance – either directly or indirectly – from Europe.”
Civil society and the European Parliament have lobbied the European Union to close legal loopholes since it was revealed that sodium thiopental, one of the three drugs used by the USA in its lethal injection cocktail, was exported from the UK to be used in a number of executions in 2010.
“Although this is a vital step forward for the European Union in its continued fight against the death penalty, there remain other legal loopholes which will only be closed with an end-use catch-all provision to prevent European drugs of any type being used in executions.”
PRI encourages the European Commission to prioritise its in-depth review in 2012 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005 concerning trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and ensure that recommendations for a death penalty and torture catch-all clause be included in the review.
Click here to read the release by the European Commission