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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…

Egypt court spares ousted president Mohamed Morsi the death penalty

An Egyptian court recommended death sentences on Saturday for 6 codefendants of Mohamed Morsi but not for the ousted Islamist president in their trial on espionage charges.

The presiding judge in the trial asked the mufti -- the country's official interpreter of Islamic law -- to consider death sentences for the 6 codefendants, saying the court would convene again on June 18 after the mufti's response.

It will then pronounce its verdict and sentence for the remaining 5 defendants, including Morsi, on charges of having supplied Qatar with classified documents.

Egyptian law requires the mufti to sign off on death sentences. 

His opinion is not binding but is usually respected by courts.

Qatar was a main backer of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement while he was in power between 2012 and July 2013, when the military overthrew and detained him.

He has since been sentenced to death, life in prison and 20 years in three separate trials.

Source: Agence France-Presse, May 7, 2016

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