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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…

Gaza court sentences 4 to death for 'spying for Israel'

Execution of Hani Abu Aliyan in Gaza on October 2, 2013
Execution of Hani Abu Aliyan in Gaza on October 2, 2013
A military court in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Wednesday sentenced 4 Palestinians to death on charges of spying for Israel, a statement and court sources said.

The court said in a brief statement that a 23-year-old man from the Zeitoun area south of Gaza City had been sentenced to death on espionage charges. It did not provide his name.

3 other men who "fled from justice" were also found guilty in absentia, it said.

A court source told AFP the 4 were convicted on "charges of spying for the occupation", including "surveillance" and providing information about cars and homes to help Israel plan alleged assassinations.

Before these sentences, 167 people had been sentenced to death by courts in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 after a battle with Fatah, which runs the Palestinian Authority. 80 of the death sentences have been given in Gaza since that date.

Islamists Hamas have previously carried out executions against those accused of dealing with Israelis, with the killings sometimes taking place in public squares.

Under Palestinian law, collaborators, murderers and drug traffickers can face the death penalty.

Source: Agence France-Presse, January 13, 2016

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