The European Union on Friday condemned the Trump administration for reimposing the federal death penalty and urged the Justice Department to reverse corse, saying such moves marched in the face of global efforts to end capital punishment.
“The European Union strongly opposes the decision of the United States Department of Justice to resume the federal death penalty after a 17-year hiatus,” the EU spokesperson said in a statement.
“This decision runs counter to the overall trend in the United States and worldwide to abolish the death penalty, either by law or in practice.”
The statement said the EU views the death penalty as “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment,” and called for the implementation of effective and nonlethal punishment measures.
The spokesperson said the EU stands behind victims of crimes and their families, but says sentencing a person to death is “incompatible with the inalienable right to life, fails to provide effective deterrence to criminal behavior, and is irreversible.”
The U.S. penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., is expected to carry out three executions next week following a months-long legal battle and marking the first federal executions carried out since 2003.
States have continued to use the death penalty, though a number of state governments have issued moratoriums on the practice.
A total of seven people have been executed in the United States this year, according to data from the Death Penalty Information Group.
The Associated Press was the first to report on the planned executions.
Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump pushes back on book claims, says he spent 'virtually no time' discussing election with Lee, Graham Woodward: Milley was 'setting in motion sensible precautions' with calls to China Barr-Durham investigation again fails to produce a main event MORE last month issued the directive to schedule death by lethal injections for four federal-death row inmates at a U.S. penitentiary in Indiana. Barr's move comes one year after the Justice Department announced it would resume executions.
“The American people, acting through Congress and presidents of both political parties, have long instructed that defendants convicted of the most heinous crimes should be subject to a sentence of death,” Barr said in a statement last month.
Critics argue that the Trump administration is playing politics, elevating the death penalty as an issue even as the nation faces more important challenges posed by COVID-19, where has killed more than 133,000 people and crushed the economy.