In his final days in office, Trump orders series of executions

In his final days in office, Trump orders series of executions
Attorney General Barr has ordered five executions during the presidential transition period. Source: DREW ANGERER
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Daily US Times: As President Donald Trump’s days in the White House are coming to an end, his administration is racing through a string of federal executions.

Five executions are scheduled before Joe Biden’s 20 January inauguration – breaking with an 130-year-old tradition of pausing this amid a presidential transition.

And if all five take place, Donald Trump will be the country’s most prolific execution president in more than a century, overseeing the executions of 13 death row inmates since July of this year.

The five executions are to begin this week, starting with 56-year-old Alfred Bourgeois and 40-year-old Brandon Bernard. Both of them are scheduled to be put to death at a penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

US Attorney General William Barr has said his justice department is simply upholding existing law. But critics have said the move is concerning, coming just weeks before President-elect Joe Biden – who has said he will seek to end the death penalty – takes office.

Ngozi Ndulue, director of research at the non-partisan Death Penalty Information Center, said: “This is really outside the norm, in a pretty extreme way.”

Since the federal death penalty was reinstated by the US Supreme Court in 1988, federal executions in the country have remained rare.

Before President Donald Trump took office, only three federal executions had taken place in this period.

All were carried out under President George W Bush, a Republican, and included inmate Timothy McVeigh, convicted of the Oklahoma City federal building bombing. There have been no federal executions in 2003 at all.

US states have continued to execute inmates in state prisons, putting a combined 22 death row inmates to death last year. But state executions are also on a downward trend.

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