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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…

Five Hanged in Northern Iran on Drug Charges

On the morning of Saturday April 9, 5 prisoners were reportedly hanged at Rasht's Lakan Prison (in the provine of Gilan, northern Iran) on drug charges.

The prisoners had reportedly been transferred out of their wards on Thursday April 7 and taken to solitary confinement cells in preparation for their executions.

According to close sources, Rashid Kouhi, Seyed Javad Mirzadeh and Hossein Farhadi are the names of 3 of the prisoners. 

Iran Human Rights is in the process of investigating the identities of the 2 other prisoners. 

All 5 prisoners were reportedly on death row for drug related offenses.

According to Amnesty International, 36-year-old Rashid Kouhi was arrested in September 2011 and sentenced to death by the revolutionary court in Rudbar (a county in Gilan) for possession and trafficking 800 grams of methamphetamine. 

Close sources say prison authorities contacted Kouhi's family on April 7 and instructed them to come in for their last visit with him on Friday April 8 before his scheduled execution the next day.

Iranian authorities have admitted multiple times in the past that the death penalty has not decreased the volume of drug crimes in Iran, but Iranian authorities still continue to hang prisoners on drug charges. 

Human rights groups, including Iran Human Rights, have reported close to a thousand executions carried out in Iran in 2015.

 According to the annual death penalty report by Iran Human Rights, 66% of the executions carried out in 2015 in Iran were for drug related offenses.

Source: Iran Human Rights, April 10, 2016

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