Arizona has purchased ingredients to create the same deadly chemical compound used by Nazis during the Holocaust.
According to documents published by The Guardian, the state’s Department of Corrections has bought more than $2,000 worth of ingredients to make hydrogen cyanide gas, which was also known as “Zyklon B” during WW2.
Arizona State Prison Complex, Florence, where the state’s gas chamber is located, was built in 1949. It has, however, been out of commission for years after a botched execution in 1999 left a prisoner suffocating for 18 minutes before he died.
Meanwhile, the death penalty has been paused altogether since 2014 in the state after another botched legal injection caused inmate Joseph Wood to be injected 15 times before he died.
But documents allege that plans for renewing the chamber have been in action since August 2020. The Guardian says staff have conducted mock executions and have tested the structural integrity of the building by setting off smoke grenades to see if they leak outside the chamber.
Besides chemicals, Arizona has also purchased $1.5 million worth of pentobarbital in October 2020, a sedative used during lethal injections. It is thought that these could affect the some 115 inmates currently on death row in the state.
Speaking to The Guardian, Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said: “You have to wonder what Arizona was thinking in believing that in 2021 it is acceptable to execute people in a gas chamber with cyanide gas. Did they have anybody study the history of the Holocaust?”
And reacting to the story on Twitter, people had similar views: