WASHINGTON: (APP) The US state of Arkansas is racing to execute eight death row inmates in 10 days next month to beat the expiration date on a hard-to-get drug used in lethal injections.
Death penalty opponents have denounced the rush to execute, with the New York Times saying it was for a reason "as mundane as it is absurd."
The eight men facing the ultimate punishment have been on death row for an average of two decades, but are now on a fast track to die.
Under a decree signed by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, the first two prisoners will be put to death on April 17, followed by two more on April 20, another two on April 24 and the last pair on April 27.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, an independent organization, no state has ever carried out eight executions in 10 days.
Since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, only Texas has put to death eight people in a single month. That was in 1977, the year executions resumed in the United States.
Scheduling two executions on the same day is in itself "unusual," according to the DPIC.
"States have executed two or three inmates on the same day just ten times in the last forty years, and no state has carried out more than one double execution in the same week," it said.