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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…

Sweden grants citizenship to academic facing Iran death sentence

Ahmadreza Djalali
Imprisoned Iranian researcher Ahmadreza Djalali has been granted Swedish citizenship, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Sveriges Radio on Saturday.

Djalali, a resident in Sweden, was arrested during a trip to Iran in April 2016. He was found guilty in October 2017 of passing information about Iranian nuclear scientists to Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency. 

Prior to his arrest and detention, Djalali was a researcher at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute. 

His sentence was met with protests by both Sweden and the UN. An initial appeal was rejected in December, and his lawyer said earlier this month that a further request to have the sentence overturned has been denied.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry said it has been difficult to get information about the academic’s case. A ministry spokesman said the decision to grant him citizenship may result in Sweden gaining better access and stronger negotiating power with the Iranians. 

“We will continue to stay the course and our demands will not change. We demand that his death penalty not be enforced,” Patric Nilsson of the Foreign Ministry told Sveriges Radio.

Said Mahmoudi, a professor of international law at Stockholm University, said the move would give Sweden a better position to stand on in its talks with the Islamic republic.  

“There is no doubt that Sweden is now in a stronger position with our contacts in Iran because of this decision. We can now rightfully claim that he is a citizen and that according to the 1963 Convention on Consular Relations we are entitled to assist Djalali in all aspects,” Mahmoudi told Sveriges Radio. 

Mahmoudi cautioned however that Iran does not recognize dual citizenship. 

The Swedish branch of Amnesty International, which has been advocating Djalali’s case for months, applauded the citizenship decision and called on Swedish authorities to do all they can to help the academic. 

“Amnesty hopes and assumes that the Swedish government is now doing its utmost to get Djalali freed,” spokeswoman Ami Hedenborg told Sveriges Radio. 

Source: The Local, February 17, 2018


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but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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