The state of Arizona has plans to use hydrogen cyanide, the deadly gas used by the Nazis at Auschwitz and other extermination camps, to kill inmates on death row, documents obtained by The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington showed.
The Arizona Department of Corrections spent more than $2,000 in procuring the ingredients for the gas, The Guardian reported, citing the partially redacted documents.
The ingredients purchased include a solid brick of potassium cyanide, sodium hydroxide pellets, and sulfuric acid, the documents showed.
Cyanide is lethal in that it prevents the body from using oxygen. It was used in both World Wars — by French and Austrian troops in World War I, and by Nazi Germany in World War II, said a 2014 fact sheet by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The trade name for hydrogen cyanide is Zyklon B.
The department has also refurbished a gas chamber in Florence, Arizona, that was built in 1949 but had not been used for 22 years, The Guardian reported.
The chamber was tested for “operational functionality” and “air tightness” last August, and in December, following a refurbishment, officials “verbally indicated that the vessel is operationally ready.”
The documents published by The Guardian also included instructions on how to operate the gas chamber.