Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

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…

ILGA: Homosexuality, bisexuality criminalized in 72 states around the world

Police car, San Francisco Gay Pride
As pride month comes to a close this week, the U.S. recognizes the third anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide. 

The decision on June 26, 2015, overturned prohibitions in 13 U.S. states that had not already granted the right to marry on the state level to same-sex couples.

But in other countries around the world, gay and lesbian couples are often penalized. 

According to a May 2017 study titled “State-Sponsored Homophobia” published by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), same-sex acts are criminalized in 72 states around the world:

  • Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

  • Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Butan, Brunei Darussalam, Gaza, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Qatar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan, and Yemen

  • Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago

  • Cook Islands, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu

In 27 of the states where same-sex acts are illegal, the law only applies to men, not women, according to the ILGA study.

Death penalty

Evidence of the death penalty being carried out against lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals was found by the ILGA in eight states: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, and ISIS-held territories in Iraq and Syria.

Other punishments for same-sex relationships reported in the study include jail time, ranging from one month to 15 years.

These sentences can be given for state offenses ranging from sexual acts to lesbian, gay, and bisexual expression, prohibited by “morality laws.”

Discrimination prohibited

Several countries have constitutions that explicitly prohibit the discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals: South Africa, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nepal, Kosovo, Malta, Portugal, Sweden, and Fiji.

The ILGA does recognize 124 states where there are no legal penalties for same-sex acts and 24 states that have legalized gay marriage.

More so, 72 states have provisions that protect individuals from discrimination in the workplace, including the U.S.

Source: Fortune, Renae Reints, June 26, 2018

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

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