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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…

Turkish PM warns Juncker of ‘threatening statements’

Turkey responded to the head of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker’s recent article published in a German weekly considering Turkey’s re-installation of the death penalty as a red line in Turkey’s bid to join the EU bloc.

“No one can make threatening statements on Turkey’s sovereign rights,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said.

The EU is making “confusing statements,” accused Yıldırım while addressing his party’s parliament group on July 18.

“Those threatening us to close the EU doors to Turkey should know that the EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the EU,” Yıldırım said.

Those who are responsible should refrain from these kinds of statements that can harm channels of dialogue, he added.

The European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker urged Turkey to uphold democratic values if it hopes to join the European Union on July 16, a year after the failed coup.

Juncker’s comments came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave a speech to parliament on the anniversary of the attempted coup, following mass rallies in Ankara and Istanbul.

“Whoever wants to join the European Union is joining a union of values,” Juncker wrote in an op-ed for German weekly Bild Sonntag.

“Europe’s hand remains outstretched” but it expects that “Turkey too should clearly show its European colors and emphatically take basic European values to heart,” he added.

In his speech, Erdoğan had vowed to sign any bill lawmakers pass on reintroducing the death penalty.

The European Commission is in charge of accession negotiations for prospective new members, with Turkey’s dossier largely frozen since last July’s failed coup attempt.

In his article, Juncker warned in particular against the detention of journalists without trial including Deniz Yücel of German daily Die Welt.

This was “in no way compatible with a union of human rights, press freedom and the rule of law,” he said.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News, July 18, 2017

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