Stop Cruel Experimental Executions

Target: Greg Treat, President Pro Tempore of OK State Senate

Goal: Prohibit use of cruel and unusual nitrogen hypoxia as method of execution.

“Tonight, Alabama causes humanity to take a step backwards.” These were the final words of death row inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith, who became the first person in America to be executed by the controversial nitrogen hypoxia method. While the Alabama attorney general characterized the event as “textbook” and vowed to use this form of execution again, eyewitnesses (including the inmate’s spiritual advisor) described a scene more akin to torture.

Upon receiving the nitrogen through a mask, Smith reportedly began to shake in a convulsive and spasmic manner for several minutes. Some witnesses likened the movements to a violent seizure. Smith also seemingly gasped for breath for a prolonged period of time. This supposedly “humane” execution went on an estimated 15 to 22 minutes, wherein Smith was essentially suffocated by nitrogen gas while being deprived of oxygen. The man had previously endured yet another botched execution attempt, when a gone-awry lethal injection lasted for several hours. To make matters worse, this inmate was handed down his death sentence by a judge who went against the wishes of a jury of his peers.

For critics, including a United Nations human rights council, Smith’s last moments validated their deep concerns about this method as cruel and unusual punishment that violates America’s longest-standing legal and humanitarian principles. Sign the petition below to urge another state considering this cruelty to reconsider.


Dear Senator Treat,

“We didn’t see somebody go unconscious in 30 seconds. What we saw was minutes of someone struggling for their life.” According to reports, Alabama death row inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith struggled for his life for 22 minutes, to be exact. The man who described his final moments, spiritual advisor Jeff Hood (along with other eyewitnesses), condemned the “humanity” of America’s first execution by nitrogen hypoxia. Violent, seizure-like spasms and desperate gasps for breath seemingly replaced the peaceful and painless passing that advocates promised.

Is this what Oklahoma wants to become…a proud practitioner of a method decried as the definition of cruel and unusual by medical professionals and human rights agencies up to the United Nations itself? The experiment is over, and the damning results are in. Heed the words of the Supreme Court: “the Eighth Amendment’s protection of dignity reflects the Nation we have been, the Nation we are, and the Nation we aspire to be.” Please do not participate in the spread of this inhumane torture across America’s legal landscape and against its most sacred principles.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: CACorrections

One Comment

  1. Jenna Miles says:

    Do not say ‘guinea pig’ as if it would be excusable to do to them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


119 Signatures

  • Cassandra Hillman
  • Alice Rim
  • Mary and Roger Stephens
  • James Brown
  • Amber Remelin
  • Zeynep Celikkol
  • Anne Corrigan
  • Donna Jones
  • John B
  • judith worrall
1 of 12123...12
Skip to toolbar