“Kenneth Eugene Smith Set to be First US Inmate Executed via Nitrogen after Last-Minute Appeals Denied”

Alabama Death Row Inmate to Be Executed by Nitrogen Gas

Kenneth Eugene Smith, a death row inmate in Alabama, is set to become the first person in the United States to be executed using nitrogen gas. Despite last-minute legal appeals, both the US Supreme Court and a lower appeals court have declined to block the execution, scheduled for Thursday at 0600 GMT.

The case has sparked controversy, with opponents arguing that the use of nitrogen gas could cause unnecessary suffering and may pose a risk if there is a leak in the execution chamber. Smith, who was convicted of murdering Elizabeth Sennett in 1988, has been on death row since 1996.

The state of Alabama has turned to nitrogen gas as an alternative method of execution due to the difficulties in obtaining the drugs needed for lethal injections. The use of nitrogen gas has been approved in two other US states as well.

Those in opposition to the use of nitrogen gas argue that it could lead to a range of catastrophic events, including violent convulsions and survival in a vegetative state. The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights has raised concerns that gassing Smith may constitute torture or other cruel and inhuman treatment.

Smith’s lawyers have continued to challenge the planned execution, arguing that subjecting him to multiple execution attempts violates the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution, which prohibits “cruel and unusual” punishment. However, both the Supreme Court and the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals have declined to halt the execution.

Despite the controversy, Alabama’s state attorney general has called the use of nitrogen gas “perhaps the most humane method of execution ever devised.”

The case of Kenneth Eugene Smith is significant given the debate around the ethics and practicalities of carrying out death sentences in the US. Alabama has one of the highest per capita execution rates in the country and has 165 people currently on death row.

In recent years, the state has faced public outcry over three botched attempts at lethal injection in which the condemned inmates survived. These failures prompted an internal review that largely placed blame on the prisoners themselves.

As of now, Smith has exhausted all legal avenues to stop the execution. With his fate hanging in the balance, this unprecedented use of nitrogen gas in an execution has turned the spotlight on the ongoing debate regarding the death penalty in the United States.

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