The nexus between human rights violations and government secrecy is well-known. The abuse of human beings thrives where there is no oversight or accountability. And the promiscuous use of words like “national security” or “terrorism” to justify secrecy is also well documented.
So maybe it’s no surprise that the state of Georgia, in refusing to turn over mundane information on its lethal injection procedures, has made the outlandish claim that such disclosure could “compromise security against sabotage, criminal or terroristic acts.” A few months back, a similarly absurd claim was made in Texas, but thankfully, and to his credit, this nonsense was overruled by the Texas Attorney General. Georgia’s ridiculous position here should also be overruled.
Other states and countries have also tried to conceal execution information, but for a democracy to function, citizens have to be able to keep track of what their government is up to. It should go without saying that, of all things, the state’s killing of prisoners must be subject to public scrutiny.
Emanuel Hammond is scheduled for execution on January 25, and his lawyers have been trying, since November, to get information about the drugs that will be used to put him to death. The state’s refusal to comply, and its over-the-top reason for refusing, is an insult to the public’s right to know what is being done in their name.