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States to try new ways of executing prisoners. Their latest idea? Opioids.

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The synthetic painkiller fentanyl has been the driving force behind the nation’s opioid epidemic, killing tens of thousands of Americans last year in overdoses. Now two states want to use the drug’s powerful properties for a new purpose: to execute prisoners on death row.
As Nevada and Nebraska push for the country’s first fentanyl-assisted executions, doctors and death penalty opponents are fighting those plans. They have warned that such an untested use of fentanyl could lead to painful, botched executions, comparing the use of it and other new drugs proposed for lethal injection to human experimentation.
States are increasingly pressed for ways to carry out the death penalty because of problems obtaining the drugs they long have used, primarily because pharmaceutical companies are refusing to supply their drugs for executions.
The situation has led states such as Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma to turn to novel drug combinations for executions. Mississippi legalized nitrogen gas this s…

A year on from Peshawar, Pakistan sends more convicts to the gallows

Pakistan has hanged 8 convicted murderers in jails across the country. Executions come a day ahead of the 1-year anniversary of the Peshawar school attack, which prompted Islamabad to reinstate the death penalty.

A moratorium on executions was lifted last year by Pakistan after Taliban gunmen killed more than 150 people, most of them children, at an army-run school in the northwest on December 16, 2014.

The latest round of executions took place Tuesday in various locations in Punjab province, with 8 convicted murderers sent to the prison gallows.

"2 convicts on death row were hanged in Multan, 2 each in Bahawalpur and Gujrat and 1 each in Attock and Dera Ghazi Khan," Chaudhry Arshad Saeed, a senior prison official in Punjab, told the AFP news agency.

Pakistan has not released figures on the number of executions carried out since the 6-year moratorium was lifted. But rights activists put the number at 310 since March.

Taliban atrocity spurs return of hanging

The killing of nearly 150 people, mostly pupils, outraged the nation, allowing government to bring back the gallows.

Germany, the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on Pakistan to cease executing prisoners.

Islamabad argues the state killings are necessary to deter militancy in the country. But rights groups say 90 % of those executed were convicted of common crimes and not tied to militant groups.

For decades more than 7,000 death row prisoners have been awaiting the gallows, according to statistics compiled by the Law Ministry.

Source: Deutsche Welle, December 15, 2015

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