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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…

Saudi Arabia executes Egyptian man for drug smuggling

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
RIYADH - Saudi Arabia executed on Monday an Egyptian man convicted of smuggling drugs, the interior ministry said, bringing to 59 the number of convicts put to death this year.

Ibrahim Mohammed Salman was caught trying to smuggle opium which was hidden in his car, the ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

He was executed in the northern city of Tabuk, the ministry said.

Most executions in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia are done by beheading with a sword.

The kingdom on January 2 executed 47 people in a single day for "terrorism".

In 2015 the kingdom executed 153 people, mostly for drug trafficking or murder, according to an AFP tally.

Amnesty International says the number of executions in Saudi Arabia last year was the highest for two decades.

However, the tally was far behind that for China and Iran.

The kingdom practises a strict Islamic legal code under which murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Source: Agence France-Presse, February 8, 2016

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