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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…

Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam released from death row in Libya

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in court in Zintan
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in court in Zintan.
Muammar Gaddafi's British-educated son was released from death row in Libya earlier this year and now appears to be at large even though he faces charges at the International Criminal Court. (ICC)

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the ousted dictator's most prominent son, was sentenced to die by firing squad last year and was thought to be in prison in the western city of Zintan.

It has now emerged he was in fact released from in April and his whereabouts are unknown.

A document apparently from Libya’s temporary ministry of justice ordered his release under an amnesty law following appeals by elders from the Gaddafi tribe.

Gaddafi’s British lawyer, Karim Khan, told France 24 that his client was freed on April 12 and “is well and safe and in Libya”.

News of his release may stir tensions in Libya, especially as he was let go by militias in Zintan, a province that is already at odds with the other leading elements of Libya’s UN-backed unity government.

The 44-year-old was the most western-oriented of Col Gaddafi's eight children and well known in British society.

He studied at the London School of Economics and received a PhD - part of which he was subsequently accused of plagiarising.

Some Western diplomats hoped he would eventually replace his dictator father and lead Libya to economic and political reforms.

But when the Libyan uprising began in 2011 he sided with his father’s regime and vowed to crush the revolt.

He was captured in November 2011, just a few weeks after the elder Gaddafi was killed, and later charged in a Libyan court with war crimes.

The sentence of death handed down by a Tripoli court last year was widely criticised by the UN and human rights groups who said that Gaddafi had not been given a fair trial.

He is still wanted by the ICC to face charges for his role during the Libyan uprising. International prosecutors allege he was responsible for crimes against humanity and murder during the 2011 conflict.

Source: The Telegraph, Ralf Sanchez, July 7, 2016

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