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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…

Indonesia: Trail of legal violations up to execution of 4 inmates

Indonesian police officers
The 3rd batch of executions during President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration early on Friday saw 4 of the scheduled 14 inmates executed before firing squads and this latest round of killings has sparked criticism of the government over its negligence in conforming to the law in conducting the controversial form of punishment.

The Attorney General's Office (AGO) executed 4 death-row convicts, all of whom were drug traffickers - Indonesian Freddy Budiman and Nigerians Seck Osmane, Michael Titus and Humphrey Jefferson - leaving the remaining 10 alive pending their ongoing legal processes.

The execution of the 4, however, is considered by some to have been against the law as many procedures were omitted by the government.

Rina, a spiritual mentor from the Gita Eklesia foundation who accompanied Osmane before his execution, said there was no clear explanation from the AGO as to why only 4 convicts had been executed and why Osmane was 1 of them.

"We don't know why only 4 people were eventually killed. All spiritual mentors were asked to wait. Until 10 p.m., they finally said only [death-row convicts] numbers 6,7,9 and 11 [would be executed]," she told a press conference at the office of the Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) in Central Jakarta.

She added that the executions disregarded the convicts' basic rights since the 4 were sent to their place of execution while seeing that the others had suddenly been spared.

Muhammad Afif of the Community Legal Aid Institute, who accompanied Nigerian Humphrey Jefferson, said the government had violated the 1964 Law on Execution Procedures, which stipulates that death-row convicts have to be informed about the certainty of their execution 72 hours beforehand.

"Jefferson was given notification on July 26 at 3:40 p.m., while the execution was carried out on July 29 at 12:50 a.m., which is less than 60 hours," he said.

The government is also guilty of another violation in the fact that 3 of the 4 convicts - Freddy, Osmane and Jefferson - were in the process of appealing for clemency when they were executed.

Freddy filed an appeal a day before his execution, while Jefferson filed his on Monday and Osmane on Wednesday, Erasmus Napitupulu from the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) said.

Under the 2010 Clemency Law, death row convicts cannot be executed if they or their relatives appeal for clemency and the President has not yet rejected it.

Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo argued it was too late for the convicts to apply for clemency.

Legal activist and lawyer Julius Ibrani of the YLBHI also questioned the excessive budget used to carry out the executions, saying that Rp 7 billion (US$532.000) had been used up even though all the executions had yet finished.

"The budget for the death penalty was given to 2 institutions, the attorney and the police. 2 budgets allocated for 1 activity can cause misuse of state budget," he said.

Another criticism comes from human rights activist Haris Azhar, who highlighted his conversation with Freddy. Freddy said he had shelled out around Rp 450 billion to the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and another Rp 90 billion to officials at the National Police to buy protection for his drug business.

Haris said Freddy had pointed to the involvement of 2-star generals from the Indonesian Military (TNI). According to Freddy, the generals had accommodated Freddy's business by providing facilities for he and his associates to use while serving his sentence on the secluded prison island of Nusakambangan.

Source: Jakarta Post, August 1, 2016

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