The Committee of Ministers deplores the execution on 25 January in the State of Alabama of Mr Kenneth Eugene Smith, who was already subject to a failed execution in 2022.
The Committee of Ministers is particularly concerned by the unprecedented use in the State of Alabama of a new and controversial method of execution referred to as nitrogen hypoxia, despite serious concerns that have been raised by a number of international organisations including the United Nations that it “…may amount to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”. This method led Mr Smith to breathe pure nitrogen, depriving him of the oxygen needed to maintain his bodily functions, resulting in a cruel and painful death.
The Committee of Ministers reiterates its unequivocal opposition to the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances. It calls on States within the United States of America, an observer State to the Council of Europe, to establish a moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition at all levels in the United States. It also recalls its readiness to share its experience on the abolition of the death penalty with its observer States, through initiatives in conjunction with them.