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…

Implementation of the New Anti-Narcotics Law in Iran: 1700 Death Row Cases Reviewed

Hangings, Iran
Iran Human Rights (Jul 5, 2018): According to the Iranian state media, Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi, announced that cases of 1700 of the prisoners sentenced to death or life imprisonment for drug-related crimes in Tehran have been reviewed, while there are 1300 more requests which remain to be reviewed in the future. 

According to ILNA, Jafari-Dolatabadi mentioned the impact of the new drug law on the aforementioned statistics and pointed out, “We received 3000 requests from death-row prisoners and those sentenced to life imprisonment. 1700 requests have been reviewed in courts based on the new drug law so far and most sentences have been reduced to imprisonment. There are still 1300 more requests that will hopefully be reviewed in courts as soon as possible.

However, Tehran Prosecutor didn’t reveal to the press the precise number of the defendants whose death sentences have been reapproved. On the other hand, it is not clear how many of those 1700 prisoners were sentenced to death and how many were sentenced to life imprisonment. 

So far, there have been no official statistics on the process of reviewing the cases according to the new amendment to the Anti-Narcotics Law in other cities.

Iran Human Rights had previously mentioned the use of bribery and arbitrary prioritization in different cities in an earlier report addressing the situation six months after the implementation of the new anti-Narcotics Law.

Of note, the new amendment to the Anti-Narcotics Law doesn't address the issue of unfair trials and inaccessibility of many defendants to the lawyers during the investigation phase. 

This phenomenon may lead to the reapproval of some of the death sentences which were issued based on forced confessions.

Commenting the new report, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson for IHR, had said, “We demand more clarity in the review process of the death row drug offenders' cases. At the present moment, the judges who have issued the death sentence are also responsible for reviewing the cases. We call for an independent committee to monitor this process.” He continued, “We also demand that the process of the trials be reviewed and for those defendants who did not have a lawyer or were forced to make a confession a retrial should be held.”

Source: Iran Human Rights, July 6, 2018

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