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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…

UN: Halt execution of Malaysian national S Prabagaran in Singapore

S Prabagaran
S Prabagaran
The UN Human Rights Office for South East Asia calls on Singapore to halt the scheduled execution of Malaysian national S Prabagaran, and urges the government to immediately reinstate a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

Prabagaran was convicted in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine, a pure form of heroin, was found in his car at the Singaporean immigration checkpoint.

Under international law, the death penalty may only be used for "the most serious crimes", which has been interpreted to mean only crimes involving intentional killing. 

Drug-related offences do not fall under the threshold of "most serious crimes". Furthermore, under domestic law, the death penalty is not mandatory for drug-related offences.

"The death penalty is not an effective deterrent relative to other forms of punishment nor does it protect people from drug abuse. The focus of drug-related crime prevention should involve strengthening the justice system and making it more effective," the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has stated.

Several states called on Singapore to abolish the death penalty during its human rights review in Geneva in January 2016.

Prabagaran has maintained his innocence, saying that he didn't own the car he drove, and wasn't aware of the drugs being in it.

His lawyer N Surendran said Prabagaran faces execution within a few weeks.

Source: aliran.com, February 24, 2017

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