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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…

Duterte claims Jokowi complained to him about US and EU interfering in national policy, including capital punishment

Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Joko "Jokowi" Widodo
Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Joko "Jokowi" Widodo
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and President Joko Widodo of Indonesia employ very different political styles. While Duterte is known abroad for his brazenly outspoken, at times vulgar rhetoric, Jokowi is known for being soft-spoken and averse to controversial statements. But one of their similarities is that they have both expressed support for the use of the death penalty, particularly for drug dealers.

And, according to the popular-at-home, controversial-abroad president of the Philippines, both of them share complaints about western countries interfering with their domestic policy, particularly on the use of capital punishment.

“And for example, President Widodo, what is his main complaint when we talked to each other? It’s really America and… the rest of the EU,” Duterte said yesterday as quoted by The Philippine Star.

“They would call you from time to time and insist that we do away with the death penalty in the statutes,” he added.

Duterte did not mention when Jokowi supposedly made these comments to him, but they had a phone conversation in late June and also met when the Philippine leader visited Jakarta in April.

The context of Duterte’s claims about Jokowi were his own complaints about US State Department officials criticizing his regime’s violent war on drugs and his proposed reinstatement of the death penalty (capital punishment is not currently legal in the Philippines, though many critics have argued that the large number of deaths caused by the country’s drug war are tantamount to extra-judicial killings tacitly sanctioned by Duterte).

While President Joko Widodo staunchly defended Indonesia’s use of the death penalty to combat the country’s so-called “drug emergency” in the face of widespread international condemnation in the past, in recent months his stance seems to have softened as he has suggested he would be open to revising the policy and possibly reimplementing a moratorium on its use.

Source: Coconut Jakarta, July 13, 2017

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