Allen Ault: The day I sent a man to the electric chair

In April 2017, Hardtalk, the BBC's flagship current affairs interview programme, will mark 20 years on air. To mark the anniversary, the BBC is repeating some of the classic interviews recorded since 1997.

One of Hardtalk's most powerful interviews in 2014 was with Allen Ault, who was head of corrections in the US state of Georgia in the 1990s. He was responsible for running the machinery of death in a state still committed to the deterrent effect of capital punishment.

He did not just order others to carry out executions, he felt it was his duty to be present at the executions himself. But after watching a handful of the state's most serious criminals being strapped to the electric chair he decided he could stomach no more.

Mr Ault left his post and became a campaigner against the use of capital punishment in the US.

BBC HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur talks to him about what prompted this momentous change of heart and how he is still, years later, haunted by these executions.

Read Stephen Sackur's account of the interview

Watch more clips at HARDtalk's website

You can see the Hardtalk interview in full on Monday 27 March 2016 at these times on BBC World Service and the BBC News Channel and after on BBCiPlayer (UK only).