US judge rejects German drug maker’s effort to halt execution

In this June 1, 2018 file photo, small vials of fentanyl are shown in the inpatient pharmacy at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. (AP)
Updated 12 August 2018
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US judge rejects German drug maker’s effort to halt execution

  • Moore was sentenced to death for the 1979 murder of two taxi drivers
  • State officials have said they obtained the drugs legally, although they have kept their source secret

CHICAGO: A US judge on Friday denied German drugmaker Fresenius Kabi’s motion to stop a planned lethal injection execution in Nebraska on the grounds that the state improperly obtained the company’s drugs.
Federal Judge Richard Kopf ruled that the state could carry out the execution, its first in 21 years, using a four-drug protocol.
Fresenius Kabi had argued it was the likely source of two of those drugs, and their use in an execution would hurt the company’s reputation, especially with a European public largely opposed to capital punishment.
The German group argued that it had protocols in place to prevent its drugs from being obtained by state agencies for executions, and that if Nebraska had purchased the drugmaker’s injectable medicines, it had done so improperly.
But Kopf rejected the company’s arguments, issuing an oral ruling from the bench saying that since Nebraska has not publicly identified the source of its execution drugs, the company’s concerns were too speculative.
Fresenius Kabi reportedly planned to appeal the ruling, which for the time being did not alter the planned execution date of convicted murderer Carey Dean Moore, set for Tuesday.
Moore was sentenced to death for the 1979 murder of two taxi drivers. He is not contesting his execution order, but it could nevertheless be delayed by the lawsuit, should it prevail in an appeal.
“Decades have slipped by since Mr.Moore was sentenced to death. The people of Nebraska have spoken,” the judge said in his ruling.
“Any delay now is tantamount to nullifying Nebraska law, particularly given the rapidly approaching expiration of two of the drugs and the total absence of any feasible alternatives.”
State officials have said they obtained the drugs legally, although they have kept their source secret.
Injectable drugs have become harder to obtain amid public opposition and a reluctance or refusal by drug manufacturers to sell their products to prisons for use in executions.
Last month, a similar lawsuit by drugmaker Alvogen temporarily halted an execution in Nevada.


Strasbourg gunman Cherif Chekatt shot dead by police

Updated 1 min 24 sec ago
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Strasbourg gunman Cherif Chekatt shot dead by police

  • Chekatt was killed after firing on police officers, who returned fire
  • Reporters near the scene heard three to four gunshots after a huge police operation

LONDON: A gunman on the run since he killed three people at Strasbourg’s popular Christmas market has been shot dead by police.

More than 700 French security forces had been hunting for 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt since the bloodshed on Tuesday night.

Cherif Chekatt was killed in the Neudorf/Meinau area of the city after a police operation was launched around 2100 hrs (2000 GMT) on Thursday about 2 kilometers from where he launched his attack on Tuesday.

Chekatt was killed after firing on police officers, who returned fire, a source said.

Reporters near the scene heard three to four gunshots after a huge police operation with armed forces from the BRI and RAID units. A police helicopter had been circling overhead.

The death toll from Tuesday’s attack rose to three as police on Thursday combed the city in the east of France for a second day and manned checkpoints on the German border.

Police issued a wanted poster in multiple languages for Chekatt, who was the main suspect in the attack and who had been on a watchlist as a potential security threat.

Authorities say the 29-year-old was known to have developed radical religious views while in jail.

Earlier in the day armed and masked police swooped on Strasbourg neighborhoods with elite RAID officers fanning out across three locations in late afternoon, including the area where Chekatt was last seen.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said Chekatt’s parents and two brothers were being held in custody.

Two of his sisters in Paris were also questioned on Thursday and one of their homes was searched, a judicial source said.