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Screams, Flames Among Horrors of Botched US Executions

by Lucile Malandain

[Signs against the death penalty are seen in front of the Supreme Court in Washington DC in 2008. (AFP image)]Signs against the death penalty are seen in front of the Supreme Court in Washington DC in 2008. (AFP image)

WASHINGTON — US executions are meant to be clinical and humane, but for some they end up resembling medieval torture, complete with the smell of burning flesh, screams, and scenes so gruesome that witnesses faint.

"We put animals to death more humanely," reporter Carla McClain said of a 1992 execution she witnessed, in which Donald Eugene Harding writhed and thrashed in an Arizona gas chamber for over 10 minutes before dying.

Last month, Romell Brown became only the second man to leave a US execution chamber alive, after 18 failed attempts to administer the lethal injection.

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