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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…

Saudi execution rate doubles under MBS, says rights group

Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Arabia's execution rate has doubled since Mohammed bin Salman was appointed crown prince in 2017, according to the anti-death penalty rights group Reprieve.

The group said 133 executions have taken place in the 8 months since his appointment last June, compared with 67 in the 8 months before.

There have been 33 executions so far this year, roughly split between people convicted for murder and drug dealing.

Reprieve said Saudi Arabia was on track for a record 200 executions in 2018 if that accelerated rate continues. It said several of those on death row in Saudi Arabia were convicted of crimes while still children.

Maya Foa, the group's director, said: "The doubling of executions under the new crown prince reveals that, beneath his glossy public image, Mohammed bin Salman is one of the most brutal leaders in the kingdom's recent history.

"Protesters, including some who were children at the time, have had the death penalty confirmed despite allegations of torture and forced confessions.

"When she meets the crown prince, Theresa May should urge him to commute the sentences of all child protesters facing execution."

The prime minister was on Wednesday forced during questions in parliament to defend Britain's relationship with Saudi Arabia. Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition leader, asked May: "As she makes her arms sales pitch, will she also call on the crown prince to halt the shocking abuse of human rights in Saudi Arabia?"

May responded: "The link we have with Saudi Arabia is historic, it is an important one, and it has saved the lives of potentially hundreds of people in this country. I will be raising concerns about human rights when I meet him."

Reprieve said 18 young men are currently facing imminent execution for protest-related offences under Saudi Arabia's wide-ranging "anti-terrorism" laws. 8 of those were children at the time of their alleged offences.

It pointed to assurances by the former British prime minister, David Cameron, that the issue of child prisoners on death row would be addressed.

"In October 2015, Cameron pledged, in an interview with Channel 4 News, that he would intervene in the case of 3 Saudi protesters, Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher, Ali al-Nimr and Dawood al-Marhoon, who were facing beheading despite being children at the time of arrest," the group said.

"The then foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, later told the House of Commons he had received assurances Ali and others would not be executed. Despite this, the 3 still have not had their death sentences commuted and face imminent execution. Reprieve is aware of 5 other juveniles in the same position."

Source: Middle East Eye, March 8, 2018


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

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