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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…

Psychological Association of the Philippines joins call against death penalty revival

In a statement, the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) said: "Capital punishment does not deliver on its hopes for better justice, closure for all parties concerned, and better crime prevention. It does not give full cognizance of the implications of its irreversible effect, the reality of the limits and inevitable class discrimination of the judicial process, and the misconception of closure and justice itself."

The group said "the practice of capital punishment point[s] to its discriminatory nature," adding that majority who were meted the death penalty have "incomes below minimum wage, unable to afford the legal services to defend themselves in a long process."

PAP also pointed out "judicial flaws" that include "incompetent counsel, inadequate investigatory services, or even outright police and prosecutorial violations of judicial procedures." It also noted that "torture or ill treatment of suspects to coerce confessions or implicate others during investigation is common in the country."

"History also points to gross misapplications of the death penalty law, with vulnerable individuals protected by Philippine law from capital punishment finding themselves on death row," PAP also said.

To recall, the bill which was approved by the House on March 1 via voice voting only lists drug-related offenses as crimes punishable by death: the importation, sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution, transportation and manufacturing of drugs, and maintenance of a drug den.

Source: Business World Online, March 7, 2017

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