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Nitrogen executions are merely the latest effort to hide the brutal reality of capital punishment

Despite widespread criticism of nitrogen hypoxia executions, Alabama’s attorney general has defended the method, reports The New York Times.

Witnesses said Kenneth Smith “shook and writhed” for two minutes as he was executed, even though state lawyers said he would lose consciousness in a matter of seconds.

Despite also being described as “humane” lethal injection has been compared to waterboarding and being burned at the stake, Reprieve’s joint executive director Maya Foa told the New York Times.

“Executing states are constantly looking for ways to pretend executions are medical and modern, not brutal and violent,” she added.