A judge in Fulton County, Georgia, has blocked the execution of Warren Hill, an intellectually disabled man who was set to be put to death by lethal injection despite a US supreme court ban on judicial killings of "mentally retarded" people.

Hill, 52, has been granted a slim window in which to argue that his rights have been violated by a recent state law that imposes secrecy on the drugs that would be used to kill him. Under the new Lethal Injection Secrecy Law, the identity of the suppliers of the sedative pentobarbital that would be given to him in a lethal dose has been deemed a "state secret" in an effort to bypass a growing international boycott of the use of pharmaceuticals in death sentences.

The Georgia state courts will now reconsider his case on Thursday. Should the judges decide that the execution can be put back on schedule, it is possible that by the end of this week Hill will be faced with his fourth brush with the death chamber in the space of a year.