(NBC NEWS) – Attorney General William Barr has ordered the reinstatement of the federal death penalty after a 16-year pause, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.
Barr also directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions of five death-row inmates convicted of murder, the Justice Department said in a news release.
The executions are slated to take place in December 2019 and January 2020.
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"Congress has expressly authorized the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people's representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President," Barr said in a statement.
"The Justice Department upholds the rule of law — and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system," he added.