DEATH PENALTY: FOREIGN MINISTER FRATTINI TAKES STAND AGAINST USE OF ITALIAN-PRODUCED PENTOTHAL FOR LETHAL INJECTION
Rome, December 13, 2010
Foreign Minister Franco Frattini met today with representatives of Hands Off Cain and the Community of Sant’Egidio in an effort to prevent the direct or indirect use of Pentothal, produced in Italy, in prisons in the United States and other countries that resort to lethal injection.
Minister Frattini said he shares the concerns of the delegation, which included Radical Party M.P. Elisabetta Zamparutti, Hands Off Cain leader Sergio D’Elia and Community of Sant’Egidio spokesman Mario Marazziti, and confirmed his desire to solve the issue quickly, involving the Health and Productive Activities Ministers in the effort. Frattini then informed the representatives of the abolitionist movements of his intention to summon executives of the Hospira pharmaceutical company, based in Liscate (Milan), commissioned by its head office in the U.S. to produce the drug and start shipments there in January.
Minister Frattini furthermore announced that he was in favor of the motion presented to the House of Representatives by Elisabetta Zamparutti and supported by members of all political groups, which would bind the government to ensure that the production and sale of Pentothal on the part of Hospira were authorized exclusively for medical purposes and on the condition that the barbiturate produced in Italy not be used for lethal injection.
Frattini lastly announced to his guests that he intends to raise the issue at the European level so that control of Pentothal exports be extended to member states of the European Union in compliance with national and EC laws forbidding application of the death penalty.
Controls on exports of Pentothal were recently established by the British government following the discovery by the humanitarian organization Reprieve that the anesthesia imported from the United Kingdom was used in October to execute a man in Arizona.