On January 22, Alabama faith leaders and community members gathered at the state capitol building to deliver a letter to Governor Kay Ivey asking her to pause the execution of Kenneth Smith using nitrogen hypoxia.
The letter, signed by more than 100 faith leaders from across the state, warns of the precedent the use of the drug would set and calls into question the state’s value of human life. Calling the execution “experimental,” the governor was warned that the use of nitrogen hypoxia “could have dire, unintended consequences” and would impact the care of a spiritual advisor.
“As a state that proclaims its commitment to life, we must not proceed with this untested and experimental form of execution,” Rev. Cynthia Carter of All Saints Episcopal Church in Homewood said in a statement. “Nitrogen hypoxia, which has never been used as an execution method ever before, may pose untold risks to spiritual advisors, prison personnel, witnesses, and others in proximity to the execution. It is certainly inconsistent with the values of human dignity and respect for life.”
Scheduled for January 25, it would be the first of its kind in the country. The state’s first execution attempt of Kenneth Smith by lethal injection was botched on November 17, 2022.
“Our faith demands that we speak up for the inherent dignity and worth of every person. We implore Governor Ivey to stop this execution and ensure that Alabama does not embark upon this reckless and barbaric path,” Rev. Lynn Hopkins from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Montgomery said.
To read the letter, click