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Alabama Prisoner Was Sentenced To Death By Nutrogen Hypoxia, Critics Protested Calling The Process “Inhumane”

Capital punishment raised controversies, again

Capital punishments or death penalties had always been a topic of controversy amongst the justice bearers of court and the common people. A recent ruling had again added fuel to the discussion regarding this complicated and layered topic.

An Alabama prisoner is sentenced to death by Nitrogen gas this Tuesday. There had been an ongoing argument surrounding the fact whether it is violating the “international human rights” to execute a prisoner by following such an unusual method of death.

Court announces an unusual death penalty

Kenneth Eugene Smith had been sentenced to death twice. He had already witnessed the death row rituals once. During September of 2022, he was sentenced to death by lethal injection but he managed to survive the punishment. The medical experts and executioners tried for four hours to find his vein and finally after a long trial, they gave up. Kenneth was taken back to prison while he waited for the next ruling. The judge declared that the Capital will punish the criminal by Nitrogen hypoxia.

Smith’s crime

Smith was accused of murdering a woman named Elizabeth Sennett in exchange of prize money, Elizabeth’s husband had offered 1000 dollars to Smith and one of his companions to finish the given task. They broke into Elizabeth’s house and stabbed her to death with a fireplace instrument. They even made the crime scene look like it was a case of forced home invasion. The police took the accused men under their custody soon but they could not get hold of the husband as he committed suicide after learning about the probability of getting arrested. 

Smith’s journey towards the death chamber begins again

Smith’s companion was executed in 2010 by lethal injection. As Smith’s fortune was being discussed in the court, The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had heavily argued against the original decision. According to the points raised by him, the punishment interferes with human rights. He even went forward to describe the punishment as, “torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment”.

Lawyer’s argument 

Smith’s lawyer had appealed to the court on Friday. This was his last opportunity to stop the punishment by Nitrogen. He argued that it would be an inhumane punishment. Even the veterinarians stated that they do not prefer using Nitrogen gas when they put the pet animals to their peaceful slumber forever. The critics backed Smith’s lawyer stating that the method was only “acceptable” and tested on chicken and pigs but not any other mammals. 

How does the punishment work?

The punishment requires the prisoner to sit in a chamber with a mask on. The mask is connected to a Nitrogen gas  container via a pipe. The executioner starts the supply of the nitrogen gas inside the prisoner’s mask and slowly the prisoner falls to his death. The lawyer fighting for Smith had argued about what would happen if Smith vomited. The state had replied that the Nitrogen gas would not be stopped once it is turned on. 

How does Smith feel about it?

The press tried to talk to the prisoner in question regarding this. Smith is yet to process such a unique type of death sentence. He had answered that he would never be mentally prepared for this situation. He added that he had been “sick to his stomach” thinking about his impending death. “I am not ready for that. Not in no kind of way. I’m just not ready, brother,” he said. 

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