US & Canada

Court halts Arizona inmate's execution

Joseph Wood. File photo Image copyright AP
Image caption Joseph Wood has been convicted for killing his former girlfriend and her father in 1989.

A US court has ordered the execution of an Arizona death row man to be delayed until he gets more details about the lethal injection procedure he faces.

The appeals court said Joseph Wood was entitled to know more about the drugs that would be used to put him to death.

Wood's lawyers had successfully argued that prison officials had violated their client's First Amendment rights.

The 55-year-old has been convicted for killing his former girlfriend and her father in 1989.

In its ruling, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeal stated: "Wood has presented serious questions going to the merits of his claim, and that the balance of hardships tips sharply in his favour."

Reacting to the verdict, Wood's lawyer Dale Baich said: "Today the court has made a well-reasoned ruling affirming the core First Amendment principles regarding the public's right to know, which aid all parts of our democratic government.

Wood's execution had been scheduled on Wednesday.

US states have encountered increasing problems in obtaining the drugs for lethal injections, amid an embargo by European pharmaceutical firms.

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