Press Releases US: Statement by the Spokesperson on the recent execution

US: Statement by the Spokesperson on the recent execution

The European Union deeply regrets the execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith in the State of Alabama yesterday.

The EU strongly opposes the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances. It is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate denial of human dignity. The death penalty fails to act as a deterrent to crime and represents an ultimate punishment that makes miscarriages of justice irreversible. 196 innocent people have been exonerated from death row in the United States to date.

The execution was carried out by forcing the inmate to breathe pure nitrogen, depriving him of the oxygen needed to maintain bodily functions, leading to nitrogen hypoxia – the first time this execution method has been used in the US. According to leading experts, this method is a particularly cruel and unusual punishment, in addition to the fact that the inmate was already subjected to a failed execution attempt in November 2022.

The EU continues to call for the universal abolition of the death penalty. In this context, the EU welcomes the fact that 29 US states have either abolished capital punishment or imposed a moratorium on executions. However, we are concerned that the number of executions in the US increased last year. 24 people were executed in five states despite a steady, overall decline of the use of capital punishment in the US since 2020. We call for states that maintain the death penalty to implement a moratorium and move towards abolition, in line with the worldwide trend.


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