BRUSSELS, July 25 (RIA Novosti) – The European Union has announced it “deeply regrets” about the circumstances of the execution of US citizen Joseph Wood in Arizona, who died Wednesday only two hours after a lethal injection, and called on the authorities to abolish capital punishment.
Media reports said 55-year-old Joseph R. Wood, convicted for double murder, was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m. local time, one hour and 57 minutes after the apparently botched execution started. Wood was seen "gasping and snorting for more than an hour" before he died.
“We strongly believe that where capital punishment occurs, it shall only be carried out so as to inflict the minimum possible suffering. The EU considers that this constitutes one of the minimum standards that states who insist on maintaining the death penalty should respect,” a statement by a spokesperson for the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton says.
In the statement, the EU said this is one of several similar cases that took place lately in other retentionist US States where death penalty is still in active use.
The latest execution comes less than three months after an Oklahoma inmate died of a heart attack 43 minutes after his execution was halted because the drugs weren't being administered properly.
“We are conscious about the serious nature of the crimes involved and express our sympathy to the family of the victims. However, it is our view that the capital punishment can never be justified,” the statement reads.
The EU has called on the authorities of the US State of Arizona to “consider a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition, to follow the positive example of the so far 18 US States who have abolished the death penalty.”