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Botched execution highlights US lethal drug dilemma

Published on May 1, 2014 6:25 AM
Death row inmate Clayton Lockett is seen in a picture from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections on June 29, 2011. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS/OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A botched execution, which left a prisoner writhing in agony after he was injected with an untested drug cocktail, has focused attention on America's struggle to find the best way to put people to death.

Rights groups expressed disgust on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, after convicted rapist and murderer Clayton Lockett's gruesome death the night before at the hands of Oklahoma authorities, who administered the new mix of drugs.

Officials postponed a second execution that had been due to take place later on Tuesday and said they would re-examine measures taken since the United States was confronted with a lethal drug shortage.

Pharmaceutical firms from Europe, where the death penalty has been abolished, have halted exports of execution drugs to the United States, and US states are struggling to develop alternatives.

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