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…

Sudan Court Overturns Death Sentence of Teenager Who Killed Husband That Raped Her

Sudan woman
An appeals court in Sudan has overturned the death sentence of a teenager who killed her husband after he allegedly raped her, instead sentencing her to five years in prison, the BBC reports.

Noura Hussein, 19, was sentenced by an Islamic court in May to death by hanging for stabbing her husband and cousin, Abdulrahman Mohamed Hammad, whom she was forced to marry when she was 16 years old. He was also twice her age at the time of their wedding.

After refusing to have sex with him, Hussein said he raped her while his brother and cousins held her down. When Hammad allegedly tried to rape her again the next day, she stabbed him to death with a knife.

Fearing retribution, Hussein’s parents turned her into the police, according to the BBC.

Hussein’s case sparked international outrage. Over one million people signed an online petition, #JusticeforNoura, to overturn her death penalty, also gaining the endorsement of celebrities like Naomi Campbell, Mira Sorvino and Emma Watson.

The case has brought international attention to the issue of forced marriage in the Northeast African nation, where girls as young as 10 years old can be legally married and courts do not consider marital rape a crime, according to Human Rights Watch.

Amnesty International hailed the court’s decision to overturn her sentence as “hugely welcome news,” but said Hussein’s five-year prison sentence was a “disproportionate punishment.”

“The Sudanese authorities must take this opportunity to start reforming the laws around child marriage, forced marriage and marital rape, so that victims are not the ones who are penalized,” Amnesty said in a statement.

According to a 2017 UNICEF report, one third of girls in Sudan are married before they turn 18.

Source: TIME, Casey Quackenbush, June 27, 2018

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