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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.
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Jailed for 'insulting Islamic sanctities', Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi at risk of receiving 223 lashes

Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi
Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi
Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi who was jailed on November 23 after being summoned to start serving his prison sentence is at risk of receiving his flogging sentence of 223 lashes, Amnesty International said in an Urgent Action appeal on December 1.

Karimi, from Iran’s Kurdish minority, is a “prisoner of conscience,” the human rights group said.

The Urgent Action appeal said: “Although he had never received an official written summons, the Office for the Implementation of Sentences had repeatedly telephoned him since February 2016, ordering him to present himself to Tehran’s Evin Prison to begin serving his sentence. The authorities have also told him that they intend to implement his flogging sentence of 223 lashes.”

“Keywan Karimi had been on bail since December 2013. He had obtained a letter from doctors which certified that his mother was undergoing cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, and Keywan Karimi had hoped that the authorities would not summon him to serve his prison sentence before her course of treatment was complete. He had also wanted to remain at liberty long enough to finish making his latest film.”

“Keywan Karimi was arrested on 14 December 2013 and held for 12 days in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer in Section 2-A of Evin Prison, which is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards, before being released on bail.

In October 2015, following an unfair trial before a Revolutionary Court in Tehran, he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment on the charge of ‘insulting Islamic sanctities’ and 223 lashes on the charge of ‘illicit relations falling short of adultery’.

The former charge was imposed in connection with a music video clip the authorities found on his hard drive; the latter was brought against him for ‘shaking hands’ and ‘being under one roof’ with a female friend and poet ‘who had not covered her head and neck’.

On 20 February 2016, Keywan Karimi was told that an appeal court had upheld his flogging sentence and ruled that he must serve one year of his six-year prison sentence,” Amnesty added.

Source: NCRI, December 2, 2016

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