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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’s human rights record still poor: Imparsial

The government is still failing to protect and uphold human rights in the country despite a number of laws guaranteeing the rights of all citizens, which according to Jakarta-based human rights watchdog Imparsial is rooted in a lack of focus and commitment.

Imparsial executive director Al Araf said the absence of human rights in the priority programs of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had added to the already long list of challenges to the poor performance in the country’s efforts to equally protect the rights of all people.

“It’s really important for the government to politically commit to making human rights a priority program otherwise we will not see any changes in the future,” Al Araf said in a discussion on Friday.

He said such a lack of political commitment had posed challenges, including political transactions that consequently put aside human rights, a toothless national rights body, which was supposedly a front-line protector of human rights in the country, and unfinished legal reform.

“Jokowi’s administration is no different to those of his predecessors, which failed to prioritize actions to uphold human rights,” Al Araf said, citing current rampant religious intolerance, criminalization of activists, the ongoing use of the death penalty as well as impunity as examples that showed Jokowi was not committed to human rights.

Source: The Jakarta Post, Margareth S. Aritonang, December 10, 2016

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