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US Court Delivers Setback to White House Plan to Resume Federal Executions

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A U.S. appeals court has issued a setback to the Trump administration's plans to restart federal executions next week after a 16-year hiatus.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday upheld a ruling that blocks the federal government's plan to resume the executions.

The Justice Department had asked the court to lift a lower court injunction and pave the way for a federal execution planned for next week to take place.

Attorney General William Barr has said he would take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Barr, who was appointed this year by U.S. President Donald Trump, announced in July that he would resume federal executions for criminals convicted of the death penalty. Five executions were planned in the coming weeks for convicted criminals.

However, a U.S. district judge halted those plans last month, after some inmates challenged the new execution procedures over the Justice Department's lethal injection protocol.

Shawn Nolan, a lawyer for the men facing federal execution, said he was "gratified" by the ruling.

"The courts have made clear that the government cannot rush executions in order to avoid judicial review of the legality and constitutionality of its new execution procedure," he said in a statement.

The last federal execution was carried out in 2003. Since then, the government has not tried to carry out the death penalty due to protracted litigation over the lethal drugs used in the executions.

Some U.S. states still carry out the death penalty, although a growing number of them have stopped.

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