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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…

Belarus Suspends Two Death Sentences, Rights Group Says

Belarus prisoners
RFE/RL -- The Supreme Court of Belarus has suspended two death sentences, the Minsk-based Vyasna (Spring) human rights center says.

Vyasna cites relatives of Ihar Hershankou and Syamyon Berazhnoy as saying that the court has suspended the implementation of the two men's death sentences while their appeals are being considered.

In a June 14 statement, Vyasna lawyer Paval Sapelka said the appeals offers a possibility that the sentence be commuted.

Appeals usually take at least one month to consider.

Earlier in January, Amnesty International raised concerns about Hershankou and Berazhnoy, saying their executions were imminent after the Supreme Court upheld their sentences in December.

In July 2017, the two men were found guilty of murder and kidnapping, after an investigation established that they were part of a gang that killed old home-owners in order to acquire their properties.

Belarus remains the only country in Europe and Central Asia to carry out the death penalty.

The European Union and rights groups have urged Belarus for years to join a global moratorium on the death penalty.

According to rights organizations, more than 400 people have been sentenced to death in Belarus since it gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Source: RFE/RL, June 15, 2018


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

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