Human Rights Commissioner Löning calls for national export ban on sodium thiopental

Apr 5, 2011

Following the execution of 46-year-old William Glenn Boyd last Thursday by lethal injection, Markus Löning, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, today (1 April) issued the following statement:

The list referred to is published as an Annex to the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance on Approval Procedures for Dual-Use Goods, which is maintained by the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control. If the substance were added to it, each and every export of sodium thiopental would require official approval.

Execution by lethal injection is the method chosen by the majority of federal states that apply the death penalty in the USA. Thiopental is an anaesthetic that is usually included as one of three substances that make up the lethal cocktail. Thiopental is designed to cause an initial loss of consciousness, following which the other substances cause death. Since the end of 2010, American authorities have found it increasingly difficult to obtain thiopental. Hospira, the sole US manufacturer of sodium thiopental, recently stopped producing the substance.

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