Mississippi Risks Engaging in Human Experimentation with SB2543 and HB1305

February 12, 2015 5:00 pm

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JACKSON, Miss – The following is a statement from American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, Common Cause of Mississippi, Mississippi Center for Freedom of Information and the Mississippi Press Association, about legislation, Senate Bill 2543 and House Bill 1305, which amend a statute in Mississippi to prevent disclosure of the suppliers of drugs used in executions:

“In light of the botched executions conducted around the country, it is more important than ever that there be accountability and transparency when it comes to the drugs and suppliers used in executions. SB2543 and HB1305 will put up a wall of secrecy around the source of drugs to be used in executions. The secrecy makes it impossible for the courts and the public to know whether executions will be carried out humanely and in compliance with state and federal laws and the U.S. Constitution.

Without information about the pharmacies that create experimental drugs, drug combinations and compounded drugs used for executions, it is impossible to say whether a product will be effective and work as intended.

If Mississippi continues to execute death row prisoners, the government must be transparent and accountable to the people of this state. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has stated “transparency in government is critical to its integrity,” therefore we must carefully scrutinize legislation that provides additional exemptions to the Public Records Act. Transparency in government is an important issue, and these bills seemed to be less about criminal justice and more anti-transparency.

If we are to have executions at all, they must not be conducted like hastily thrown together human science experiments. This legislation is unsafe, unnecessary and will cause Mississippi to incur more litigation expenses and delays in the courts. There should be no exception given to pharmaceutical companies related to their role in execution.”

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