Idaho allows execution by firing squad if lethal injection is unavailable

LOS ANGELES (AFP): The legislature of the western US state, Idaho, has passed a bill on Monday that authorises the use of a firing squad as a means of execution in the event that lethal injection is unavailable for death row inmates.

Idaho would become the fifth US state to approve execution by firing squad, after Utah, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and South Carolina, according to the Death Penalty Information Centre.

Since 1976 and the end of a brief moratorium on the death penalty in the United States, two men and a woman have been executed in this way — all in Utah, also in the west. The last one was 2010.

The US states which have the death penalty have been experiencing great difficulty in obtaining the chemical components necessary for a lethal injection, due to opposition by pharmaceutical companies which do not want to be associated with executions.

Death by firing squad would occur in Idaho only if a lethal injection were not possible.

The American Civil Liberties Union denounced the passage of the law as “appalling”, calling the legislation “archaic.”

“A firing squad is particularly gruesome…such executions leave lasting scars on all those involved,” ACLU Idaho said in a statement.

Those killed by firing squad “likely experience extreme levels of pain and torture”, added the organization, citing experts.