Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

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…

China votes against UN resolution to condemn death penalty for gays and lesbians

China remains far from a gay-friendly place to live.
On September 29th, China joined 12 other countries in voting against a United Nations resolution aimed at condemning countries for executing people for having gay sex.

The Human Rights Council resolution asked countries in which the death penalty is legal to ensure that it is not applied "arbitrarily or in a discriminatory manner" or imposed against those under the age of 18, pregnant women, or for adultery, blasphemy and consensual same-sex relations.

Despite China's nay vote, the resolution passed with 27 members of the council voting for, 13 against and 7 abstaining from the vote.

In its opposition to the resolution, China was joined by Bangladesh, Botswana, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Afterward, a US State Department spokesperson said that the US "unequivocally condemns" the application of the death penalty to homosexuality, adultery, and religious offenses, explaining that their vote against the resolution was really only a vote for the death penalty.

"We voted against that resolution because of broader concerns with the resolution's approach in condemning the death penalty in all circumstances, and it called for the abolition of the death penalty altogether," the spokesperson said.

The Human Rights Council resolution actually calls upon states that have not already abolished the death penalty to "consider doing so." You can read the full resolution here.

China's rationale for voting against the resolution was likely very similar to America's. The country has not abolished the death penalty, in fact, it executes more people each year than the rest of the world combined, though it keeps these statistics secret. Additionally, on the international stage, China is always quick to support giving countries the freedom to handle their own affairs inside their own borders with their own laws, allowing Beijing to brush off criticism regarding human rights abuses from the UN or US.

Back in 2010, China voted against a UN General Assembly resolution aimed at reinserting "sexual orientation" into a resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, casting its "nay" vote alongside countries like Benin, Saudi Arabia, Malawi, Somalia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

There are currently 6 countries where the death penalty is used for people in same-sex relationships: Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Sudan. Gay people in areas of Iraq and Syria that are controlled by ISIS are also at risk of being executed.

Homosexuality is not a crime in China. In 2001, it was removed from the country's list of psychiatric disorders. Though, China remains far from a gay-friendly place to live.

Source: shanghaiist.com, October 4, 2017

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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