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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…

Bali Nine execution saga could recur: Amnesty

Bali's Kerobokan Prison
Bali's Kerobokan Prison
A Bali Nine death penalty saga could be repeated, Amnesty International warns after the government rejected recommendations to change federal police rules.

Amnesty International fears there could be another Bali Nine-type death penalty saga after the federal government rejected recommendations to tighten federal police information sharing protocols for drug crimes.

The federal government's response to a parliamentary committee's death penalty report was tabled in the lower house on Wednesday.

The committee recommended federal police obtain guarantees from foreign prosecutors that death penalties won't be sought for drug crimes. If guarantees can't be obtained, information should be withheld.

The federal government did not accept the committee's recommendation.

"The government notes that foreign law enforcement partners cannot themselves provide binding assurances that the death penalty will not be applied if information is provided," the response said.

The government argued that combating serious drug crimes was a high priority and preventing crime in Australia would be impeded if authorities here could not co-operate with death penalty countries.

At the moment federal police guidelines require ministerial approval for co-operation with foreign police agencies in possible death penalty cases once arrests have been made.

In the Bali Nine case, no one had been arrested when the federal police tipped off Indonesian police about a group of Australian drug traffickers.

Ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed in 2015.

Amnesty International Australia is unimpressed.

"It is extremely disappointing that the government did not take this opportunity to ensure a Bali Nine-type situation never happens again," spokesman Guy Ragen said.

Source: AAP, March 1, 2017

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