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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…

Amnesty International Calls For Urgent Halt To Execution Of Mohammad Salas

Mohammad Salas
Amnesty International calls for urgent halt to the imminent execution of Mohammad Salas, a member of Iran’s Gonabadi Dervish community.

In its statement issued on June 17, 2018, Amnesty International called on Iranian authorities to to immediately quash the death sentence of Mohammad Salas.

Amnesty International said, it has received information that indicates a huge miscarriage of justice may be carried out if the Iranian authorities go through with this execution.

“We call on the authorities to immediately quash the death sentence of Mohammad Salas and to order a retrial that meets international fair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at ‎Amnesty International.

Amnesty International announced in its statement, “Prison authorities phoned Mohammad Salas’ family on the evening of 16 June and told them to go to Raja’i Shahr prison where he is imprisoned in Karaj, near Tehran, to visit him for the final time at 3.30pm local time on 17 June. This indicates that his execution is imminent, and could happen within days if not hours.”

“Following a grossly unfair trial, Mohammad Salas was sentenced to death on 19 March 2018 after the judge found him guilty of the murder of three police officers that took place during a protest by the Gonabadi Dervish religious group, a persecuted minority in Iran.

The sole piece of evidence used to convict him was a “confession” that Mohammad Salas has said was forcefully elicited after he was severely beaten by police officers. He has since retracted his “confession” and his lawyer has said there is new evidence pointing to his innocence; however, the Supreme Court has rejected his request for a judicial review.

The protests in question, which took place on 19 February 2018, turned violent after security forces resorted to beatings and the use of live ammunition, water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Three police officers, Reza Emami, Mohammad Ali Bayrami and Reza Moradi Alamdar, were left dead after they were run over by a bus in the early evening around 6.30pm. According to Mohammad Salas and several eye witnesses, he was arrested between 2.30pm and 4.30pm and accused of their murder,” Amnesty International said in its statement.

“In their haste to do justice, the authorities have trampled all over this man’s rights. By not allowing Mohammad Salas access to a lawyer before and during his trial and dismissing key defence witnesses who can testify that he was already in detention when the three policemen were killed, it appears that the authorities have been more interested in vengeance at any cost than in justice,” said Philip Luther.

“This case has laid bare the flaws in Iran’s criminal justice system for all to see. We call on the international community to do everything in their power to stop the execution of Mohammad Salas.

“If the Iranian authorities follow through with this execution after a grossly unfair trial where the only piece of evidence was a forced ‘confession’ extracted through torture, it will be a truly abhorrent act of injustice.”

Source: iran-hrm.com, June 17, 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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