Inmates: New Ark. execution law unconstitutional

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Lawyers for six death row inmates have filed a lawsuit challenging Arkansas' new execution law, saying it doesn't ensure that prisoners won't die by cruel and unusual means.

The lawsuit says the inmates were convicted under a law that requires the use of an "ultra-short-acting" barbiturate along with a paralytic agent. Arkansas now intends to use phenobarbital. The lawyers say phenobarbital is slow-acting and has never been used for executions. They claim a mix of a relaxant and phenobarbital could cause an agonizing death for the men - if it kills them at all.

Arkansas' Supreme Court threw out a previous execution law, saying legislators gave too much power to prison officials for carrying out the plan.

A spokesman for the attorney general's office says they're reviewing the lawsuit.

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