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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…

Iran conditions death penalty for drug offenses

Watching a public execution in Iran
Back to the Middle Ages: Watching a public execution in Iran.
TEHRAN, Mar. 13 (MNA) – Capital punishment will be removed for all drug-related offenses with the exception of 3 cases, vice-chairman of Parliament’s Judiciary Committee told MNA on Sunday.

MP Yahya Kamalipour told MNA that the judiciary needs to report to the Parliament the figures related to those sentenced to death and the severity of their crimes, after which the Parliament would be able to make the necessary decisions on revising the bill on capital punishment.

“At the moment, it is reported that those carrying methamphetamine, crack cocaine and derivatives of heroin up to one kilogram will be sentenced to death, but one should note that this will increase the number of offenders on the death row,” he added.

Noting that 80 per cent of inmates currently imprisoned on drug-related charges have carried over one kilogram of drugs, he said “it was decided that the judiciary should announce the accurate figures of drug offenders sentenced to death and the amount of drugs they had been carrying at the time so that we would know how many offenders would be charged with capital punishment based on this.”

“In the main clause of the revision plan, it is noted that capital punishment for drug offenses will be removed with the exception of 3 cases,” he said. “For example, if the offenders have been armed while carrying drugs, or if they had been imprisoned for more than ten years, or if the case is related to organized crime, they will get the death penalty.”

According to Javad Larijani, the secretary general of Iranian High Council for Human Rights, 90 per cent of the executions carried out in Iran are related to drug-trafficking crimes; therefore, a revision of the existing laws would dramatically decrease the number of executions in the country.

Source: Mehr News Agency, March 13, 2017

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