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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…

Iran slams Sweden for giving citizenship to death row 'spy'

Ahmadreza Djalali
Iran has formally criticised Sweden over its decision to grant nationality to an Iranian professor sentenced to death on spying charges, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Sweden granted citizenship last week to Ahmadreza Djalali, a Stockholm-based specialist in emergency medicine.


He was arrested during a brief visit to Iran in April 2016 and found guilty in October of passing information about two Iranian nuclear scientists to Israel's Mossad intelligence agency that led to their assassinations.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said the decision to grant a convict citizenship was "very strange, unprincipled and questionable" and that the Swedish ambassador was summoned on Monday.

"Iran's strong protest was conveyed to the Swedish ambassador with regards to the move by the Swedish government to grant nationality to a person who has confessed to spying for Mossad and the Zionist regime and participating in killing Iranian scientists," Ghasemi said in a statement on the ministry website.

Ghasemi emphasised that Iran does not recognise dual nationality, and that Djalili will be treated purely as an Iranian citizen.

The Supreme Court confirmed Djalali's death sentence in December, which was criticised by human rights group Amnesty International as running "roughshod over the rule of law".

Djalali has claimed he is being punished for refusing to spy for Iran while working in Europe.

His lawyers say they were blocked from presenting submissions ahead of the Supreme Court hearing.

The sentence has been condemned by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium where he was a visiting professor. The European Union has said it is closely following the case.

A total of five Iranian scientists -- four of them involved in the country's nuclear programme -- were killed in bomb and gun attacks in Tehran between 2010 and 2012 at the height of tensions over the country's nuclear ambitions.

Iran has accused Mossad and the CIA of ordering the killings.

Source: AFP/The Local, February 20, 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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