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Meanwhile, the Arkansas Supreme Court also barred a state judge who blocked the multiple execution plan from taking up any death penalty related cases after he participated in a protest where he appeared to mimic a death row inmate about to receive a lethal injection.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is planning to appeal Baker's decision. The six remaining executions are on hold because of Baker's order and because a state circuit judge in Little Rock ordered the state to not use a lethal injection drug until questions are settled on how the state obtained it. The state is expected to appeal the decision.

The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty's Friday rally comes as a federal judge weighs whether to grant the inmates' requests to block their upcoming executions.

Protesters gather outside the state Capitol building on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Little Rock, Ark., to voice their opposition to Arkansas' seven upcoming executions.

Attorneys for the seven Arkansas inmates facing lethal injection by the end of the month are asking the state Supreme Court to halt their executions.

"The unnecessarily compressed execution schedule using the risky drug midazolam denies prisoners their right to be free from the risk of torture", he said in a statement, referring to the drug used to render inmates unconscious before they are given two other drugs that paralyze and kill them. The state's attorneys have called the challenge an effort to delay the executions indefinitely and have said they don't have a replacement identified for the drug if it expires.

Lawyers were already scrambling to respond to a temporary restraining order issued late Friday by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen to stop the prison system from using one of the three drugs employed in lethal injections.

The company has said it sold the drug to be used for medical purposes, not executions.

In February, Gov. Asa Hutchinson scheduled the executions of eight men over an 11-day span in April.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker granted the inmates stays of execution on Saturday, but she rejected their arguments that there was too little time between executions.

McKesson said it's considering legal action to get the drug back.

"The schedule of imposed on these officials, as well as their lack of recent execution experience, causes concern" Baker wrote in her order Saturday.

The judge also faulted the state's policy of not letting lawyers have access to the inmates at the time of their deaths and said the inmates could raise challenges about the drugs to be used. "After hearing the evidence ... the court is compelled to stay these executions", she said. Arkansas hasn't carried out a double execution since 1999.

FILE- In this January 4, 2017, file photo Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks to members of the press during a Q&A session in Little Rock, Ark.

The state originally planned to execute eight inmates, but two had previously been blocked by state and federal courts. Baker, dealt another blow Saturday.

Baker's ruling added to a list of roadblocks for the state, following a stay of execution of another inmate, 24 hours earlier.

The restraining order was issued in response to a case brought by the manufacturer of one of the drugs, vecuronium bromide, that Arkansas uses in its executions.

While regular church services were planned for the holiday, many residents in the capital had been also expecting to attend a special vigil for the condemned later Sunday evening at Little Rock's Trinity Cathedral - which was supposed conclude with a march to the governor's mansion.


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