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Execution of woman on death row in US postponed

IANS  |  New York 

The execution of Kelly Renee Gissendaner, the first woman in 70 years to be sentenced to death in the US state of Georgia, has been postponed.

Authorities on Monday cited possible problems with the lethal injection due to be administered later that day as the reason for the postponement, Efe news agency reported.

The authorities decided to postpone the execution in the Jackson state prison as a precautionary measure because component drugs in the injection appeared cloudy.

This development comes as Gissendaner's lawyers await the US Supreme Court's decision on an appeal asking the court to take into consideration the fact that she did not commit the murder of her husband.

Gissendaner was sentenced to death for planning the murder of her husband, Doug Gissendaner, in 1997 along with her lover.

Gregory Bruce Owen, the lover with whom she planned the murder, testified against her and received a sentence of life imprisonment.

Her defence lawyers argue this is unfair.

Gissendaner, 46, and mother of three, has received the support of human rights activists and religious organizations that have used all means to stop the execution.

These include clemency applications filed by her lawyers with the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, legal actions and petitions asking Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to intercede on her behalf.

According to Cathy Zappa, of the Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta, Gissendaner has undergone a very profound change in the last few years and even become a spiritual leader within the prison.

She also said that although Gissendaner was hopeful of receiving a pardon, she was also prepared for death.

As of October 2014, 57 women were on death row in the US, just 1.88 percent of the total number, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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First Published: Tue, March 03 2015. 19:56 IST