Nebraska obtained execution drug legally, state official says

OMAHA, Neb Mon Jan 9, 2012 6:10pm EST

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OMAHA, Neb (Reuters) - Nebraska obtained its supply of a drug used in executions of death row inmates legally and executions should proceed, state Attorney General Jon Bruning said on Monday.

Bruning, a Republican candidate seeking to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Senator Ben Nelson, said documents filed with the Nebraska Supreme Court showed the state had obtained the drug legally from the exporter after the manufacturer had been paid.

Nebraska has had difficulty obtaining sodium thiopental from a European supplier, which objects to the anesthetic's use in executions. The drug is no longer manufactured in the United States.

Swiss drug manufacturer Naari has said it was duped out of vials of sodium thiopental, which were sold to Nebraska by a pharmaceutical broker in Calcutta, India. Naari opposes using the anesthetic for executions.

Bruning filed a paper trail with the state Supreme Court regarding the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services' importation of the sodium thiopental.

Death row inmate Michael Ryan had filed a motion in December asking the state to prove it holds the sodium thiopental legally one day after the Nebraska Supreme Court denied his request to halt his execution.

Bruning asked the Supreme Court to reject Ryan's "frivolous allegation" that the drug was stolen and to set an execution date.

(Editing by David Bailey and Greg McCune)

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