UK supplied lethal drugs to be used in imminent execution

By staff writers
January 24, 2011

The US state of Georgia is set to execute Emanuel Hammond tomorrow (25 January 2011)using drugs supplied by Matt Alavi, who runs the London based firm, Dream Pharma.

The legal charity Reprieve has obtained new documents providing information on the extent of Dream Pharma’s involvement in deaths throughout the US prison system.

Alavi has previously only admitted to sending one batch of execution drugs to Arizona’s State Prison Complex. Reprieve says it is now clear that Dream Pharma has been trading throughout the US, supplying Georgia and other states with sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride, used for executions.

Alavi denied that he knew what the drugs were being used for. Reprieve say that the new documents prove that he was explicitly informed that the drugs were to be used for capital punishment and that he deliberately rushed through the prison orders for that reason, adding: “I am more than happy to assist”.

Reprieve contacted Dream Pharma yesterday (24 January) to ask for help in preventing Hammond's execution, which is set for 25 January at 7pm EST, but received no response.

Dream Pharma has refused all cooperation with efforts to mitigate the damage caused by
its supply of lethal drugs, despite pleas which were issued by Reprieve, three times in writing and once in person.

On 21 January, Hospira, the sole US manufacturer of the lethal injection drug sodium thiopental, announced that it was permanently halting production of the drug in the face of overwhelming public pressure. However, drugs for the execution of Emanuel Hammond had already been dispatched by Dream Pharma.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office sought to provide assistance over the weekend to help halt Tuesday’s execution. Reprieve says other branches of government have fallen down badly.

Documents obtained by Reprieve over the weekend show that during the month when the Business Secretary Vince Cable was slow to respond to their 26 October 2010 demand that exports of sodium thiopental be banned, Dream Pharma exported sufficient drugs to take the lives of 85 prisoners.

The Departmen for Business, Innovation and Skills did not respond for three weeks to Reprieve’s request to intervene to prevent the shipment of British drugs being released by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Reprieve’s Director Clive Stafford Smith said: “Tomorrow a man is set to die thanks to Dream Pharma’s heartless pursuit of profit. The documentary evidence of Mr Alavi’s enthusiasm is chilling, but I wonder if he would be as keen if he were forced to watch his lethal drugs in action. It is not too late for Mr Alavi to come forward and help save Emanuel’s life.”


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