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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…

China sentences two men to death for murder of British monk

Kagyu Samye Ling monastery in Scotland
Kagyu Samye Ling monastery in Scotland
China has sentenced two men to death for killing a British monk who founded Europe’s first Tibetan monastery, state media said.

Chöje Akong Tulku Rinpoche, co-founder of Scotland’s Kagyu Samye Ling monastery near Langholm, in Dumfries and Galloway, was found dead with multiple stab wounds at his home in the south-western city of Chengdu in 2013.

A court in the city sentenced two men, named in Chinese as Tudeng Gusang and Tsering Banjue, to death for the murders of Akong Rinpoche and two other men, while an accomplice was sentenced to three years in jail, the state-run China News Service reported late on Sunday.

It cited authorities as saying that Gusang, who had worked at the Scottish monastery, and Banjue had stabbed Akong Rinpoche, his nephew and a driver to death in a dispute over a 2.7m yuan (£286,000) payment.

The verdict, posted by the court on social media, said the murders were “brutal” and that the suspects would be “treated severely in accordance with the law”.

Britain said in a statement that it communicated its opposition to the death penalty to Beijing.

Akong Rinpoche, who was in his early 70s, took British citizenship after fleeing Tibet in 1959, and founded the monastery in 1967. He had the title of Rinpoche, an honorific given to the most respected teachers in Tibetan Buddhism, and his community said at the time of his killing that he had been “assassinated”.


Source: The Guardian, Agence France-Presse, Feb 1, 2016

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