Executions in Arizona have been put on hold after the state ran out of the controversial drug midazolam used in the state's execution protocol, reported Sky News.
Supplies of midazolam ran dry on May 31 and sources of the drug have been blocked after successful lobbying of European pharmaceutical suppliers by death penalty activists.
In May, Pfizer became the latest pharmaceutical giant to close off the last remaining open-market source for lethal injection drugs, following similar actions by more than 20 US and European drug manufacturers.
Although a ruling last month by an Arizona district judge dismissed parts of the lawsuit, other elements of the case remain, and until the dispute is resolved, executions in Arizona remain suspended.
Dale Baich, an attorney representing death row prisoners, said that even if the lawsuit is dismissed, his clients still have claims that Arizona's Department of Corrections Director abused his discretion over the methods and amounts of the drugs used in past executions.
"It's our belief that the unlimited discretion that the director has during the execution process violates the Eighth Amendment," which forbids cruel and unusual punishment," Baich said.
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