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

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…

Malaysia: Amnesty urges government to halt execution of brothers convicted of murder

Suthar (left) and Rames Batumalai
Suthar (left) and Rames Batumalai
PETALING JAYA: Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM) is urging the Government to stop the execution of two brothers on Friday in view of a pending application for a royal pardon.

Brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai, who were convicted for murder in April 2010, have less than 12 hours before execution, said AIM executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu.

The clemency application was submitted to the Negri Sembilan Pardons Board on Thursday by Haresh Mahadevan & Co.

Shamini said that the Pardons Board must be given time to review the application.

"The family is distraught and are appealing to the Yang di-Pertuan Negri Sembilan to spare their lives," she said in a statement Thursday night.

She added that the family of Rames, 44, and Suthar, 39, were only informed on Wednesday that they should visit the brothers for the last time on Thursday ahead of their execution.

The brothers were found guilty of a murder committed in Feb 2006.

According to Shamini, the pair was moved from their respective detention facilities to Kajang Prison, where the executions are set to take place.

"The death penalty can never be justified regardless of the crime committed. The authorities must immediately take a step to prevent this double execution," Shamini said, adding that AIM was not downplaying the seriousness of any crime committed.

Source: The Star Online, February 23, 2017

Double Execution in Less than 12 Hours Must Be Stopped, Amnesty International Malaysia Says

Brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai have less than 12 hours before they face the noose if the authorities do not stop the execution in view of a pending clemency application.

The clemency application was submitted to the Negri Sembilan Pardons Board today by Haresh Mahadevan & Co, and it must be given time to review the application. The executions must not go on, Amnesty International Malaysia Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said tonight. No executions must be carried out while appeals are pending.

“Late last night, we learned that Rames and Suthar were scheduled to be executed in Kajang Prison on Friday morning, which mean they have less than 12 hours to live now. The family is distraught and are appealing to the Yang Di Pertuan Negri Sembilan to spare their lives. ,” she said.

The family of Rames, 44, and Suthar, 39, was only informed yesterday that they should visit the brothers for the last time today ahead of their execution “soon”. Amnesty International sighted the letter.

Rames and Suthar were mandatorily sentenced to death in April 2010 under Section 302 of the Penal Code after they were found guilty of a murder committed on 4 February 2006. On 22 February 2017 the pair was moved from their separate detention facilities to Kajang prison where the executions are set to take place tomorrow. International law prohibits the use of the mandatory death penalty.

“The death penalty can never be justified regardless of the crime committed. The authorities must immediately take a step to prevent this double execution,” Shamini said.

Amnesty International believes that the brothers, who were represented at trial by the same lawyer, were convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence alone. During the trial they claimed that they had intervened to stop two other men from attacking and killing the deceased, claims which were disregarded by the High Court. The Court also failed to call a key witness, the deceased’s wife, to testify. Her testimony could have corroborated the brothers’ version of the facts and the involvement of the two other men in the murder.

“The 1984 UN Safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty provide that the death penalty be imposed ‘only when the guilt of the person charged is based upon clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts’ and this has not been made clear in this instance.”

Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action to its global network to intervene on the executions and is also appealing to the Ruler of Negeri Sembilan state to stop the execution.

The secretive nature of executions in Malaysia has been consistently criticised by Amnesty International. Information is hardly made publicly available on individual death penalty cases and families are often informed merely days before that their loved ones will be executed.

“The lack of transparency around executions in Malaysia is a violation of international law and standards. Families must have sufficient time to prepare for the last visit and take any further recourse available at the national or international level.” Shamini said.

There is no conclusive evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect on crime.

“Amnesty International Malaysia does not downplay the seriousness of crimes committed, but we urge the authorities to consider introducing more effective crime prevention measures that respect human rights instead of continuously using one that has no merit.

Amnesty International Malaysia calls on the Malaysian government to put a stop to the double execution and impose a moratorium on executions immediately with a view to full abolition.


Send an email, call, fax or tweet:

• Immediately take all the necessary steps to halt the execution of Suthar and B. Rames Batumalai, and to accept their new clemency appeal;
• Immediately establish a moratorium on executions and commute all death sentence as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty;
• Move forward with legislative reforms on the mandatory death penalty and abolish this punishment from national legislation.

➤ Prime Minister of Malaysia
Mohd Najib Razak
Office of The Prime Minister of Malaysia Main Block,
Perdana Putra Building Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62502 Putrajaya, Malaysia
Fax: +603-88883444 or +603-88883904
Email: ppm@pmo.gov.my
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister

➤ H.E. Ambassador Datuk Dr. Awang Adek Hussin
Embassy of Malaysia
3516 International Court, NW, Washington DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 572 9882
Phone: 202 572 9700
Email: mwwashington@kln.gov.my
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Source: Amnesty International Malaysia, February 23, 2017

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