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Halt the Execution of the Terminally Ill Doyle Hamm

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The state of Alabama plans to execute Doyle Hamm, who is suffering from cancer and has severely compromised veins, on February 22nd. Mr. Hamm has spent thirty years on death row and has been diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. United Nations human rights officials have warned that carrying out the execution make constitute torture and violate the U.S. Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

A U.S. District Court judge found that Hamm's lawyer had “shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits” with his claim that executing Hamm would violate the Eighth Amendment. The Eleventh Circuit lifted the stay of execution and now the state of Alabama is rushing to carry out the execution before the legal and medical processes can run their course. Amnesty International has issued an urgent call to action and are asking people to call on Alabama Governor Kay Ivey commute Hamm's death sentence rather than continue with the ghoulish spectacle of executing a terminally ill man. 

From a press release by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:

"Two UN human rights experts have called on the US Government to halt the execution of a seriously ill man amid concerns that the use of a lethal injection could amount to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and possibly torture.

The Special Rapporteurs also expressed concern that Doyle Hamm, who is due be executed in Alabama on 22 February, may not have received a fair trial. Mr. Hamm was convicted of robbery and murder in 1987 and has been on death row for more than three decades.

“We are seriously concerned that attempts to insert needles into Mr. Hamm’s veins to carry out the lethal injection would inflict pain and suffering that may amount to torture,” said the experts. 

“The planned method of execution, using Alabama’s three-drug protocol, may also have torturous effects, because the sedative used is incapable of keeping a convict unconscious in the presence of the excruciating pain likely to be induced by the other drugs.

'We urge the authorities to halt his execution, annul his death sentence, and hold a re-trial that complies with international standards, as we have received information indicating that his original trial did not fully respect the most stringent due process and fair trial guarantees.'"

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