Not enough witnesses in Arkansas rush to execute prisoners

Not enough witnesses in Arkansas rush to execute prisoners
The US state of Arkansas plans to put to death eight prisoners (AAP)

Over 10 days in April the US state of Arkansas plans to put to death eight prisoners, but there is a problem - they do not have the required people to witness the executions.

State law requires at least six "respectable citizens" to be present when they put an inmate to death. But the volunteer pool has run so low that Department of Corrections director Wendy Kelley has asked local rotary club members to help out, CNN reports.

"There was a little laugh from the audience because they thought she might be kidding," Bill Booker, acting president of the Little Rock Rotary Club, told FOX16.

"It quickly became obvious that she was not kidding."

But the Department of Corrections is confident it can carry out the executions, spokesman Soloman Graves said.

Arkansas law does not require different witnesses at each execution, so volunteers could witness more than one, Death Penalty Information Center director Robert Dunham told CNN.

"It's not natural watching the intentional taking of a human life," he said.

"It has an emotional impact on people."

The high number of executions is reportedly due to the supply of execution drug midazolam nearing expiry.

Midazolam is a controversial drug in the US, where it has been blamed for a number of botched executions.

Newshub.