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US carries out first federal execution for 17 years, after Supreme Court clears path for lethal injection

US carries out first federal execution for 17 years, after Supreme Court clears path for lethal injection
Daniel Lewis Lee, a convicted murderer, has been put to death by lethal injection at an Indiana penitentiary. It was the first federal execution in the US since 2003, marking a major policy change regarding the death penalty.

Lee was executed in Terre Haute for killing a family of three in 1996. The 47-year-old was one of four death row inmates scheduled for execution by the US Department of Justice. His life was expected to end on Monday, but a last-minute ruling by a federal judge in Washington delayed the procedure. The Supreme Court overturned it in a split 5-4 decision on Tuesday.

Also on rt.com US Supreme Court clears the way for federal prisoner executions, 1st in 17 years

The development marks a political victory for Donald Trump's administration, which has pushed hard for the renewal of the death penalty for federal felons after almost two decades of a de facto moratorium. Some states in the US still execute criminals, but the federal government has not done so for many years. 

Only three federal executions have been conducted since the 1960s, all during the presidency of George W Bush. The death penalty was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1972, resulting in a brief nationwide moratorium. It was reinstated at a federal level in 1988.

The revival of capital punishment was delayed for years due to numerous legal challenges, as well as difficulties procuring the drugs necessary for lethal injections. The Trump administration abandoned federal three-drug protocol in favor of a one-drug procedure, and it has granted secrecy to companies willing to supply it in order to shield them from any public backlash.

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