The European Union called Thursday for the US state of Arkansas to commute the death sentences for seven people scheduled to be executed later this month by lethal injection.
“The European Union opposes capital punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent to crime, represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity and cannot be justified under any circumstances. More than 140 countries in the world are now abolitionist in law or practice,” said the spokesperson for the European External Action Service (EEAS) in a statement.
The EEAS implements the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy and other areas of the EU’s external representation, and is under the authority of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, currently headed by Federica Mogherini.
The EEAS noted that seven executions by lethal injection, scheduled in Arkansas for the period between April 17 and April 27, would break the de-facto moratorium on the death penalty observed by this US State since November 2005. Arkansas would also become the first State in the US to conduct seven executions over an 11-day period since the resumption of the use of the death penalty in 1977 in the US, according to the EEAS.
“Today, the death penalty is illegal in nineteen of the fifty US States and the District of Columbia. The number of executions in the US has steadily declined to its lowest level in 2016. The executions in Arkansas, if carried out as planned, would be a serious setback in this overall development,” the statement continued.
“We therefore call on the Governor of Arkansas to commute the sentences of Mr Bruce Earl Ward, Mr Don Williamson Davis, Mr Ledell Lee, Mr Stacey Eugene Johnson, Mr Jack Harold Jones, Mr Marcel W. Williams, Mr Kenneth D. Williams, as well as the sentence of Mr Jason F. McGehee, which has been temporarily stayed, and grant them relief from the death penalty,” the EEAS statement concluded.