- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska still has no means to carry out an execution because state officials have not replaced their supply of one of three drugs needed for lethal injection.

The state’s batch of sodium thiopental expired last year, and prison officials said Tuesday that they haven’t yet restored it. Sodium thiopental renders an inmate unconscious.

The Swiss company that made the drug says it was sold to Nebraska without authorization after being stolen by a broker in India. Nebraska’s execution protocol specifically mentions the drug, which is no longer produced domestically.

The European Union banned the export of the drug, and defense attorneys have questioned the quality of the drug made in India and China.

The drug was discussed during Nebraska Supreme Court oral arguments for former cult leader Michael W. Ryan. Ryan was sentenced to death in 1985 after being convicted of first-degree murder of one of his followers.

Robert Kortus, an attorney for Ryan, had asked the court to review how the state received the supply of the drug.

A panel of federal judges last year ruled that the drug Nebraska and other states had should not have been allowed into the country. Imported drugs must be reviewed for safety and effectiveness and must come from FDA-approved drug-makers, the court said.

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