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Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

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Editor's note: Reporter Dave Boucher was one of seven state-required media witnesses at Irick's execution. 
Billy Ray Irick felt searing pain akin to torture before he died in a Tennessee prison in August, but steps taken in carrying out his execution blocked signs of suffering, according to a doctor who reviewed information about the lethal injection.
In new court filings entered late Thursday amidst an ongoing legal challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, Dr. David Lubarsky said statements from people who witnessed the execution indicated the controversial drug midazolam failed to ensure Irick could not feel pain during his death.
As a result, the death row inmate “experienced the feeling of choking, drowning in his own fluids, suffocating, being buried alive, and the burning sensation caused by the injection of the potassium chloride,” Lubarsky wrote in the filing.
The document also says the state did not follow its own lethal injection protocol, raising questio…

Erdogan: Turkey can hold referendum on death penalty

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey could hold a referendum on reinstating the death penalty, if parliament fails to pass such a measure.

Erdogan made the comment on Friday while campaigning for a "yes" vote in a referendum on whether to expand his powers.

Since a failed coup in July, Erdogan has frequently told supporters who call for the death penalty at his rallies that he would sign off on any parliamentary vote to restore capital punishment.

On Friday, he went a step further, saying a referendum could be held if parliament fails to reinstate it.

Turkey abolished the death penalty more than a decade ago. European leaders say talks on Turkey's bid to join the EU would end if Ankara restores the death penalty.

Source: Associated Press, February 24, 2017

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