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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…

Turkey “holds a different status in terms of its moral values”: Erdoğan

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the government was wrong to shelve an attempt to criminalize adultery and extra-marital sex (zina) in 2004, an issue that caused a major row between Turkey and the EU during accession talks at the time.

“This society holds a different status in terms of its moral values,” Erdoğan said at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) weekly parliamentary group meeting in Ankara on Feb. 20.

“This is self-criticism. I must say that in the EU process we made a mistake ... We should now evaluate making regulations about adultery and perhaps consider it together with the issue of harassment and others,” he added.

“This is an issue where Turkey is different from most Western countries,” Erdoğan said.

The president also went on to signal that the death penalty could once again be brought to the agenda.

“Of course, the death penalty is not currently legal. But the issue of the death penalty is especially important for us due to its relationship to terror. Changes in the constitution about this could come up,” he said.

A so-called “adultery law” had come onto the agenda in 2004 as part of a package of sweeping changes to the penal code, which also included the abolition of torture. Many of the changes were seen as an attempt to bring Turkey’s legal code into line with European human rights legislation, but the “adultery law” drew outrage both within Turkey and abroad.

Under huge pressure from the EU, Ankara back-pedaled from the bill in September 2004.

Adultery had been illegal in Turkey until 1996, when the Constitutional Court overturned the law, saying it was unequally applied. Under earlier laws, men were deemed adulterers if they were proven to have been involved in a prolonged affair, while women could be charged if they were unfaithful once.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News, 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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