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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…

UN: Belgium mobilized again against death penalty

Brussels
Belgium will host next year (February 2019) the seventh world congress against the death penalty, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the UN adoption of a protocol aiming the abolition of the death penalty, announced Wednesday the Belgian minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders at the tribune of the UN Council for human rights.

Though this fight is general, Wednesday in Geneva, Belgium co-presided with the NGO “Together against death penalty” an event on the theme Africa, “the next abolitionist continent?”

At the same time, the country is one of those which are urging Iran to commute the death sentence pronounced against VUB’s guest Professor Ahmadreza Djalali, whom Teheran accuses of having collaborated with Israel in the assassination of two persons in charge of the Iranian nuclear program a few years ago.

Mr. Reynders did not pronounce Mr. Djalali’s name at the UN tribune. “It would have been counterproductive in that place, in relation to our bilateral efforts,” he explained at the end of his speech.

Being a candidate for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council in 2019 and 2020, Belgium also said it was prepared to reinforce its financing of this jurisdiction, and of the High Commission (HCDH).

In his address, Mr. Reynders gave indeed strong support to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, in his denunciation of States’ shortages.

“This concerns, for example, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the violent acts against peaceful worshipers and demonstrators, and the obstacles to fundamental freedom strongly challenge us,” the head of Belgian diplomacy explained.

The minister mentioned the DRC among other countries (Syria, Yemen, Burundi, Myanmar), where fundamental principles such as the protection of civilians in military conflicts, the sanctity of hospitals and schools, and access to humanitarian assistance are being “scoffed at on a large scale.” 

Source: The Brussels Times, Oscar Schneider, March 1, 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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