A shortage of a drug used in lethal injections has disrupted executions in the U.S. and the country’s sole manufacturer of the drug says it won’t have more supply until next year. In the meantime, states have obtained the drug from British manufacturers. Allowing the export of a drug for use in lethal injections is a clear violation of the British government’s position on the death penalty.
In November, Vince Cable, the British Secretary of State for Business Innovation & Skills, refused to block the export of sodium thiopental for executions, despite a law clearly granting him this power. The U.K. already bans the export of guillotines and tools used in gas chambers and electrocutions.
The issue is now before U.K. courts, but please sign the letter below to urge Cable to change his position and ban the drug’s export for executions.
Stop Exporting Drugs for American Executions
I’m writing to urge you to change your position and ban the export of sodium thiopental to the United States for use in executions. The export of this drug for executions is a clear violation of the United Kingdom’s positions on human rights and the death penalty and you have the power to ban the export under the Export Control Act of 2002.
I understand that American prisons may turn to other sources for the drug if you blocked exports of the drug from the U.K., but this is not an excuse for the U.K. to supply the drugs used in American executions. The British government already blocks other tools for executions, including items used in electrocutions and gas chambers. Sodium thiopental is a key ingredient in executions in America today and the U.K. should set an international example by banning the drug’s export specifically for the purpose of executions.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.