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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…

EU wants death penalty abolished in Barbados and Eastern Caribbean


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The European Union wants to see the death penalty abolished in Barbados and the rest of the Eastern Caribbean. 

It is therefore putting its money behind the work of civil society organisations in the region that are working towards this goal, as well as supporting those seeking to protect the human rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities. 

Head of the EU delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Daniela Tramacere, said yesterday "the EU views capital punishment as inhumane, degrading and unnecessary" and had therefore made the universal abolition of the death penalty one of the two priorities in its external policy. 

Speaking during disbursement of EU Human Rights and Civil Society Grants to 6 civil society projects in the region, Tramacere said contrary to the belief held by some, there was no link between the EU's position on these human rights issues and a cut in EU aid. 

Rather, she said the EU was "putting our money where our mouths are" by allocating grants worth approximately 5 million euros, allocated for a 4-year cycle, "to help the region build resilient societies and protect values and principles". 

"The EU is a stable partner of Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean and will remain such" Tramacere stressed, adding: "we do not want to impose our model; it is up to your society to decide how you want to respect the universality of human rights." 

However, she contended there was no valid scientific evidence to support claims that the death penalty deterred crime more effectively than other punishments. "Neither can there be an economic argument that detention costs the state a lot," Tramacere contended. She also suggested that the possibility of miscarriage of justice by the "intentional killing of innocent persons by the state" ought to be a higher consideration in any argument regarding the death penalty. 

Tramacere noted Barbados and most of the countries of the Eastern Caribbean had not carried out executions in over 2 decades and observed that, in essence, a de facto moratorium on the death penalty already existed. 

"Why not just abolish the practice altogether?" Tramacere asked. 

Source: nationnews.com, February 16, 2018


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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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