May 24, 2024

Amnesty condemns doctors who execute

Amnesty International is keeping its hand in bioethical debates. Not long after endorsing abortion as a woman’s right in certain cases, it has condemned doctors who participate in lethal injections. On the 25th anniversary of its first use in the United States, AI has issued a report arguing that these physicians should be punished by their professional bodies. There have been 919 executions by lethal injection in the US since 1977 to July this year and thousands in China. Although nearly all professional ethical codes forbid doctors and healthcare professional to help in executions, none have ever been disciplined, according to AI.

“The involvement of health professionals in carrying out an execution, particularly by a method using the technology and knowledge of medicine, is a breach of medical ethics,” said Jim Welsh, Amnesty International’s Health and Human Rights coordinator. “Professional bodies have spoken strongly about this abuse of ethics, but governments want to hide the identity of participating doctors to shield them from the scrutiny of professional colleagues.”