‘We are going to kill you, but you have the constitutional right to be told exactly how we are going to kill you. We will, therefore, refrain from killing you until we’ve given you the chemical formula of the stuff we’ll be injecting you with. That way, everything will be above board. Of course, once you’re dead you won’t have any constitutional rights because you will no longer exist. Happy now?’
To us in Europe, where every state save Belarus grants its citizens the right not to be killed by the state in the first place – at least not in peacetime – this seems extremely bizarre, a sort of Theatre of the Darkly Absurd which Mr Becket would probably have applauded heartily.
And an interesting little piece of trivia: the first country to abolish capital punishment was Venezuela back in 1863. Isn’t that interesting?