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US prisoner 'gasped for 2 hours' during execution

US PRISONER Joseph Wood gasped and snorted for nearly two hours before he died during his Wednesday execution, campaigners said today.

The execution in Arizona took 1 hour and 57 minutes, using the same combination of drugs used in the botched execution of an Ohio prisoner earlier this year.

Mr Wood was executed using the drugs Midazolam and Hydromorphone. 

There are just a handful of manufacturers of the drugs which do not yet have comprehensive distribution controls in place to ensure their medicines are used to improve and save the lives of patients instead of being sold to prisons to end prisoners’ lives. 

International human rights group Reprieve, which has worked extensively with pharmaceutical companies, criticised the procedure.

“The state of Arizona had every reason to believe that it would not go smoothly,” said Reprieve death penalty team director Maya Foa.

“The experimental execution cocktail had only been used once before and that execution too was terribly botched. 

“Despite the evidence, the state pushed ahead, jettisoning due process and cloaking the procedure in secrecy. 

“The result was an exercise in torture.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said later that she had ordered a full review of the execution process, expressing concern at how long it took for the drugs to kill Mr Wood.

“Manufacturers and medics have long protested the abuse of medicines designed to save lives in executions designed to end them,” said Ms Foa.

“How many more botched executions must we witness before states finally take heed?” 

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