Arkansas is on the horns of a dilemma. It has seven prisoners on death row, and they are to be executed within a short time since one of the lethal drugs has a short life which will expire by the end of April. Hence the urgency but, a judge has blocked the authorities from carrying out the executions.

Why the situation arose?

Sky News reports that Judge Wendell Griffen of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Little Rock, has issued the temporary restraining order on executions based on a petition from the company that sold the vecuronium bromide to the state for medical purposes and it was not meant to be used for inflicting capital punishment.

Arkansas uses this drug along with two other drugs potassium chloride and midazolam. Each drug has a particular purpose - the midazolam sedates the inmate while the remaining two are to paralyze the lungs and stop the heart.

The state had drawn up plans to execute seven prisoners by injecting lethal drugs. These would have been the first executions in 12 years, but lawyers who have taken up the case on behalf of the inmates have objected to the haste. Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson has justified the haste and reasoned that the supply of midazolam expires at the end of April and it would be difficult to get hold of a substitute.

The present scenario

Incidentally, the pharmaceutical companies who supply the other two ingredients of the lethal injection plan to pursue the case of stopping their products from being used in executions because using these drugs for executions not the mission of the manufacturers, their mission is to which is to save the lives of the patients.

In the meantime, the Arkansas Supreme Court has granted an emergency stay of execution for one of the inmates who is convicted of the murder of a female convenience store worker. His lawyers have pleaded that he has schizophrenia and does not know the fate that awaits him.

When individual lands up on the death row, it is known that his days are numbered and, he will have to pay the price.

The death sentence has been abolished in many countries but, where such a sentence still exists, the preferred method should be as painless as possible. However, when things have to be done in a hurry, for whatever reason, it can have ill effects on those who are involved in these executions. Agreed that those who commit heinous crimes like murder must be punished and the punishment must be an exemplary one but it need not necessarily be of the tooth-for-a-tooth logic.