After the American manufacturer of lethal injection drugs pulled out of the market, states have turned to companies from Europe to India to fill the gap
Denmark hasn't had a civilian execution since 1882 and the country banned capital punishment in 1933, except for war crimes, and that exception was removed from the law in 1978.
But next Tuesday, Texas plans to use a drug supplied by a Danish pharmaceutical company, Lundbeck, in the scheduled execution of Cleve Foster, a former Army sergeant convicted for the murder of a 30-year-old woman he had met in a bar. (Foster has always maintained his innocence.)
The Lundbeck drug has already been used for three executions in Oklahoma and one in Ohio, and other states have purchased the drug.
Even though the European Union bans capital punishment, the Danish company is not the only European corporation to supply drugs to American death penalty states. A British company, Dream Pharma, has sold sodium thiopental, an anesthetic, to several states and it has been used in four executions in recent months, in Georgia and Arizona. German and Austrian pharmaceutical companies are also looking at the American capital punishment market.
Lethal injection was first proposed by a New York doctor in the 19th century, who argued it was cheaper than hanging. It has now been adopted by the 33 states that have the death penalty, and is seen as a "more humane" approach than the electric chair or gas chamber. (Utah executed a man by a firing squad last year.)