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Governor Nixon: Europe Won't Block Missouri Executions

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

Governor Jay Nixon said Missouri will be moving forward with two executions later this year, in spite of objections from the American Civil Liberties Union and the European Union.

The executions could have a very real impact on hospitals throughout the United States, as the European Union considers possible export limits of the drug as part of its anti-capital punishment policies. Most propofol comes from Europe, where its leading manufacturer only wants it used for medical purposes.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Nixon said death penalty policy should be decided by the courts, and not the EU.

“We are very cognizant of the attention this is drawing and the potential challenges that are out there," Nixon said. "But we are resolute that the issue should be one that is played out by a court of law so that the consistency of this can be maintained.”

"We're going to continue to monitor it very closely. At this point, there's no stay in effect," Nixon said.

In addition, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri is suing the state department of corrections for failing to disclose information about how it obtained the potential execution drug.

The lawsuit alleges that the corrections department violated the state's public records act by failing to turn over documents related to propofol.

The Missouri Department of Corrections plans to use the drug in an execution later this month. Missouri ACLU executive director Jeffrey Mittman says that raises the question: how did the state get it?

“If the drugs were obtained improperly, that's certainly something we would need to know," Mittman said. "Does that lead to a legal action? Does that lead to certain rights or obligations? We need to have that information so we can proceed."

The Missouri Department of Corrections did not respond to requests for comment.

Follow Véronique LaCapra on Twitter: @KWMUScience