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Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

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Editor's note: Reporter Dave Boucher was one of seven state-required media witnesses at Irick's execution. 
Billy Ray Irick felt searing pain akin to torture before he died in a Tennessee prison in August, but steps taken in carrying out his execution blocked signs of suffering, according to a doctor who reviewed information about the lethal injection.
In new court filings entered late Thursday amidst an ongoing legal challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, Dr. David Lubarsky said statements from people who witnessed the execution indicated the controversial drug midazolam failed to ensure Irick could not feel pain during his death.
As a result, the death row inmate “experienced the feeling of choking, drowning in his own fluids, suffocating, being buried alive, and the burning sensation caused by the injection of the potassium chloride,” Lubarsky wrote in the filing.
The document also says the state did not follow its own lethal injection protocol, raising questio…

SCOTUS: The Kavanaugh nomination just got even more complicated

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(CNN) -- Democrats are demanding an immediate halt to Brett Kavanaugh's nomination process after his increasingly troubled hopes of reaching the Supreme Court were hit by a new allegation of sexual misconduct as a young man.
Kavanaugh quickly denied the new accusation by a female former fellow student about an alleged incident when he was at Yale University in the early 1980s. He branded the story reported by The New Yorker as part of a smear campaign by Democrats, a charge echoed by the White House.
The fresh trouble for Kavanaugh emerged hours after arrangements were finally locked in for a Senate hearing on Thursday at which his first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, will allege that he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers in high school.
The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein, responded to the new allegation by calling on the Republican committee chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, to order an "immediate postponement" of any furthe…

UK 'pharmacist who joined IS' caught by Kurdish forces in Syria

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Man, shown speaking in a video, says he was working in a general hospital in Islamic State-controlled territory
A British man, claiming to be a pharmacist from Birmingham, has been detained by US-backed Kurdish forces on suspicion of being part of the Islamic State. 
The man, who says his name is Anwar Miah, was arrested inside Syria, near the Iraqi border nearly a month ago. 
Footage posted by a pro-Kurdish social media account claimed that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and a YPG patrol arrested the man. 
US-backed Kurdish forces captured Anwar Miah in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour a month ago, the BBC reported.
In the video posted on Saturday, the man spoke with a British accent and said he had lived in Syria for "just under four years".
Miah appears to be handcuffed and blindfolded in the footage, as a French foreign fighter for the SDF questions him. 
When asked whether he was a member of IS, the man responded: "The area I worked in was controlled by Dae…

Alabama: Derrick Dearman found guilty in 5 Citronelle murders, jury recommends execution

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Derrick Dearman, the man charged with killing 5 people, 1 of whom was a pregnant women, and kidnapping his estranged girlfriend and an unrelated infant, has been found guilty of 10 counts of capital murder, according to the Mobile County District Attorney's Office.
The jury recommended the death penalty, according to the DA's office.
Dearman was charged with 6 counts of capital murder and 2 of kidnapping, and entered an initial plea of not guilty on Aug. 31, 2016. 
In March 2017, a grand jury indicted him on multiple counts of capital murder, both for murders committed during a burglary and a murder involving multiple victims. 
Dearman pleaded not guilty to the charges in May 2017.
The bodies of 5 adults were found in an isolated home on a dirt road west of the Citronelle on Aug. 20, 2016. 
Law enforcement officials allege Dearman entered the home in the early hours of the morning; attacked the sleeping residents using an axe and at least 1 firearm. 
Police say he killed 5 ad…

Florida: Andrew Gillum wants to suspend death penalty if elected governor

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Gillum's stance under question by Orange County family
The family of a murdered Orange County teen said they want to know more details about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum's stance on the death penalty.
Gillum told WFOR-TV in August that he wants to temporarily suspend the death penalty in Florida if he's elected governor.
"Until we can come up some answers as to why it is that there seems to be in this state the racial bias when it comes to the application on the death penalty," he told the station.
"These are heinous crimes," Rafael Zaldivar said in response.
Zaldivar's 19-year-old son Alex was shot and killed in Orange County in 2012 by Bessman Okafor.
Okafor is now being resentenced after a Supreme Court decision requiring all death penalty cases to have a unanimous jury verdict.
Zaldivar said he doesn't want that possibility taken away.
"That's going to be a problem with not only for my son's case, Bessman Oka…

Chinese nanny Mo Huanjing executed for arson killings

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A Chinese nanny has been executed after deliberately starting a fire that killed a mother and her 3 children in the eastern city of Hangzhou.
Mo Huanjing, 35, was sentenced to death for arson in February.
She had allegedly racked up significant gambling debts, and had hoped "saving" the family from the blaze would persuade them to lend her more money.
Instead, the fire in their 18th-floor apartment killed Zhu Xiaozhen and her children, aged 6, 9 and 11.
Lin Shengbin, her husband and the children's father, was away on business at the time of the crime in June 2017.
Mo, who used a lighter to start the blaze in the living room, escaped.
News of the execution provoked a huge reaction on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, where Mr Lin told his 2.6 million followers: "The devil Mo Huanjing is finally executed."
"Hearing the news, my tears would not stop flowing," he wrote. "I called my parents. My mother listened and cried and said that everyon…

Singaporean woman sentenced to death for drug trafficking

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A 40-year-old Singaporean woman who claimed she was stocking up on heroin for her own use during the fasting month has failed in her bid to escape the death penalty.
Saridewi Djamani, who was charged with trafficking a total of 1kg of drugs containing 30.72g of pure heroin, also claimed she was suffering from persistent depressive disorder and severe substance use disorder.
In his grounds of decision released on Thursday (20 September), for his sentence delivered last Friday (14 September), High Court judge See Kee Oon noted that Saridewi did not deny selling heroin, methamphetamine, cannabis and Erimin from her HDB flat but sought to downplay the scale of her trafficking business.
The High Court had heard how on 17 June 2016, at about 3.35pm, Saridewi's accomplice Muhammad Haikal Abdullah, 41, met her at the block of her flat. He passed her a plastic bag containing drugs in exchange for 2 envelopes containing $15,550 in total.
Unbeknownst to the duo, officers from the Central Na…

Iran: 9 Hanged at Shiraz Prison

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9 prisoners were hanged at Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz on the charge of rape.
According to the state-run news agency, Mizan, on the morning of Saturday, September 22, 9 prisoners were executed at Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz. 
The prisoners were sentenced to death on the charge of rape.
There is no information regarding the time of their arrest or the proceedings of their case, but according to the state-run media, the defendants were identified as Abdolkhaleq Safaiy, Ali Akbar Haqiqi, Ali Shah Alian, Hamidreza Safaiy, Behnam Roustaiy, Ehsan Safaiy, Mohammadreza Safaiy, Davoud Zareiy, and Mehdi Zamani.
According to the reports, the defendants sexually harass a woman in a villa, however, the reports mentioned that 3 women were harassed but the other 2 did not file a complaint.
A Brief Look at an Executed Political Prisoner's Case
Mohammad Abdollahi, a political prisoner, was hanged along with four other people at Urmia Central Prison in August 2016. 
After 3 years, Iran Human Rights h…

Belarus: the Last Refuge for the Death Penalty in Europe

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Highly controversial and widely criticized in the EU and around the world, the death penalty continues to be legal under the Belarusian constitution and justified by the Belarusian people in cases of grave crimes. Whether it is morally acceptable or ethically wrong, the issue of capital punishment has thrown a spanner in the works of Belarusian politicians vying for a seat in the Council of Europe, with Belarus being the only European country to allow the executions of its prisoners.
History of the death penalty in Belarus
The death penalty has been a part of the country’s policy since it gained independence from the Soviet Union. Article 24 of the National Constitution prescribes this punishment for “grave crimes” that occur against the state or against individuals. A number of non-violent crimes can also be punishable by death. Under the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus these crime include terrorism (both domestic and international), treason, sabotage, conspiracy to seize s…

Arkansas justices face ethics charges over judge's case

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A disciplinary panel filed ethics charges Thursday against six Arkansas Supreme Court justices over their decision to prohibit a judge who participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration from handling any execution-related cases.
A Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission panel formally filed charges against six of the court's seven members over their handling of the case involving Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who was photographed on a cot outside the governor's mansion last year wearing an anti-death penalty button and surrounded by people holding signs opposing executions. Earlier that day, Griffen blocked the state from using a lethal injection drug over claims the company had been misled by the state. Days after the demonstration, the court removed Griffen from the drug lawsuit and barred him from hearing any death penalty cases.
A complaint against a seventh justice is still pending. The complaint against the justices wa…