ACLU Files Petition to Halt Upcoming Missouri, Oklahoma Executions

Members of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a petition this week requesting two scheduled executions in Missouri and Oklahoma be stopped until an independent investigation can be completed.

Representatives for the Organization of American States' Inter-American Commission on Human Rights joined the ACLU in the petition that was filed Monday morning. Both groups seek to halt Missouri inmate Russell Bucklew's Wednesday execution and Oklahoma inmate Charles Warner's in November.

"The upcoming executions by lethal injection in Missouri and Oklahoma will most certainly violate international law against torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, should they go forward," a statement posted on the ACLU's website adds.

Bucklew's physicians have stated that if his execution is not stopped, he will suffer "prolonged, torturous, and gruesome" complications from the lethal injection due to a medical condition that causes a weakening of veins and tumors in his nose and throat, according to the ACLU. His execution will be the first in the U.S. since Clayton Lockett experienced complications with his execution in April.

Missouri officials have previously stated they plan to use compounded pentobarbital for Bucklew's execution. It is the same drug that has "proved problematic" during previous executions, the statement added.

"Lethal injection in the United States has reached such a level of barbarism that the world needs to know the facts," Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU's Human Rights Program stated. "The application of the death penalty itself in the U.S. violates international human rights standards, yet we continue to administer it with methods shown over and over to flout our own constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. It's time for the depravity to end."

Previous reports from KTUL state that Lockett was the first of what was supposed to be two executions on April 29. Officials halted the execution about 20 minutes into the process after a ruptured vein prevented all of the lethal drugs from being delivered.

It was the first time Oklahoma had used that combination of drugs. Officials postponed Warner's execution until November 13.