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US judge halts federal executions hours before resumption

The US government was expected to appeal against the decision in a bid to carry out the first such execution since 2003.

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Guard towers and razor wire ring the compound at the US Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana (Michael Conroy/AP)

Guard towers and razor wire ring the compound at the US Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana (Michael Conroy/AP)

Guard towers and razor wire ring the compound at the US Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana (Michael Conroy/AP)

A US district judge has ordered a new delay in federal executions, hours before the first lethal injection was scheduled to be carried out at a federal prison in Indiana.

The administration is certain to ask a higher court to allow the executions to move forward.

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan said there are still legal issues to resolve and that “the public is not served by short-circuiting legitimate judicial process”.

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An aerial view of the execution facility at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana (Michael Conroy/AP)

An aerial view of the execution facility at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana (Michael Conroy/AP)

AP/PA Images

An aerial view of the execution facility at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana (Michael Conroy/AP)

The executions, pushed by the Trump administration, would be the first carried out at the federal level since 2003.

The new hold on executions came a day after a federal appeals court lifted a hold on the execution of Daniel Lewis Lee, of Yukon, Oklahoma, which is scheduled for 4pm local time on Monday at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

He was convicted in Arkansas of the 1996 killings of gun dealer William Mueller, his wife, Nancy, and her eight-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell.

PA