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Iran: The death penalty is an inhumane punishment for death row prisoners, their families and society as a whole

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"Whether guilty or not, the outcome of the death penalty is the same. In Iran, the death penalty is by hanging, and it takes from several agonising seconds to several harrowing minutes for death to occur and for everything to be over."

Every year several hundred people are executed by the Iranian authorities.
According to reports by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and other human rights groups, death row prisoners have often no access to a defence lawyer after their arrest and are sentenced to death following unfair trials and based on confessions extracted from them under torture. 
These are issues which have been addressed in IHR’s previous reports. The current report is based on first-hand accounts of several inmates held in Iran's prisons and their families. The report seeks to illustrate other aspects of how the death penalty affects the inmate, their families and, as a consequence, society.
How does a death row inmate experience his final hours?
Speaking about the final ho…

Tennessee: Zagorski Execution Explained: If, When And How He Could Be Executed

Tennessee's electric chair
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Edmund Zagorski was convicted of shooting two men then slitting their throats after setting up a fake drug deal. His execution was scheduled for Thurs., Oct. 11, but several legal battles have kept the courts from deciding if, when or even how he will die.

IF: Will He Be Executed?


There's a chance Zagorski may not be executed, but that ruling would have to come from the U.S. Supreme Court on one of two issues: Zagorski's lawyers claims that he had ineffective counsel during his original trial or their claim that the three-drug cocktail being used by the state is cruel and unusual punishment.

Of course, the Supreme Court could also rule that the execution could continue. If that's the case, that brings us to our next question: 

WHEN?


Governor Haslam granted Zagorski a temporary reprieve until Oct. 21, which is earliest the execution could take place. The Tennessee Department of Corrections will set a new date for the execution.

That doesn't necessarily mean the execution will take place on the 21st, though. Even when the 10-day reprieve elapses, no execution can currently take place until the current stay issued by the 6th Circuit Court is lifted. 

HOW: Electric Chair vs Lethal Injection?


Death row inmates in Tennessee can choose between the two execution methods. Zagorski chose the electric chair. He made his decision after the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled to uphold the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol, something he was trying to stop. However, Tennessee Department of Corrections officials said wouldn't use the electric chair because his request was made too close to the execution date. TDOC says that change must be made 14-days before the day of the execution.

Even with the 10-day stay issued by the Governor, October 21st would only be 12 days after Zagorski announced his choice.

After Zagorski's attorneys filed an emergency motion, a federal court in Nashville issued an order staying the use of lethal injection in his execution, leaving the electric chair as his only option currently.

That order will likely be challenged to the higher courts.

Source: newschannel5.com, October 11, 2018


Governor grants 10-day reprieve from execution for death row inmate Edmund Zagorski


Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday granted death row inmate Edmund Zagorski a 10-day reprieve from execution.

“I am granting to Edmund Zagorski a reprieve of 10 days from execution of the sentence of death imposed upon by him by a jury in 1984 which was scheduled to be carried out later today," Haslam stated. "I take seriously the responsibility imposed upon the Tennessee Department of Correction and me by law, and given the federal court’s decision to honor Zagorski’s last-minute decision to choose electrocution as the method of execution, this brief reprieve will give all involved the time necessary to carry out the sentence in an orderly and careful manner."

Source: WATE news, October 11, 2018


Judge grants Edmund Zagorski's request not to be executed by lethal injection


Edmund Zagorski'
A judge has granted Tennessee death row inmate Edmund Zagorski's request not to be executed by lethal injection.

On Thursday, Judge Aleta Trauger of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee granted Zagorski’s motion and enjoined Tennessee state officials from executing Mr. Zagorski using the state’s three-drug lethal injection protocol.

He is slated to be executed at 7 p.m. Thursday while legal battle rage on for consideration of arguments that he had poor legal representation during his trial and sentencing.

“Tennessee’s death penalty statute makes it clear that Mr. Zagorski has the right to choose execution by electrocution. While being burned alive and mutilated via electricity is not a good death, Mr. Zagorski knows that death by electric chair will be much quicker than lethal injection using midazolam, a paralytic, and potassium chloride.

It is my hope that Tennessee state authorities work to find a method for carrying out executions that satisfies the Eighth Amendment’s requirement that the government refrain from torture.” - Zagorski's attorney, Kelley Henry

Meanwhile, Tennessee Department of Corrections officials are on stand by for the execution.

Another stay was granted, but an appeal is also being filed in the case.

Source: WZTV News, October 11, 2018


Supreme Court rejects Tennessee death row inmate efforts


The U.S. Supreme Court rejected two last-ditch efforts to save the life of Tennessee death row inmate Edmund Zagorski, apparently clearing the way for his execution despite a delay caused by legal wrangling.

The court rejected a challenge of Tennessee's lethal injection protocol and lifted a stay of execution ordered by a lower court because of inadequate counsel.

The court issued the rulings Thursday night around the time Zagorski's execution had been scheduled. But earlier in the day, Gov. Bill Haslam granted a 10-day reprieve to give the state time to prepare for an execution by electric chair.

It was not immediately clear what options Zagorski's attorneys have in the wake of the decisions by the court and the governor.

"We are reviewing the court's opinion and will assess what options we have," his lawyer, Kelley Henry, wrote in an email.

Zagorski had asked to die in the electric chair earlier in the week, instead of lethal injection, which he argued was cruel and unusual punishment and therefore unconstitutional.

The state denied the request, arguing that Zagorski missed the deadline, but hours before the scheduled execution, a federal judge blocked the state from using its 3-drug cocktail.

Zagorski was sentenced in 1984 for the slayings of 2 men during a drug deal.

Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer dissented from the majority's decision not to stay the execution, with Sotomayor writing that those sentenced to die "are not entitled to pleasant deaths under the Eighth Amendment, but they are entitled to humane deaths.

"The longer we stand silent amid growing evidence of inhumanity in execution methods like Tennessee's, the longer we extend our own complicity in state-sponsored brutality."

Zagorski had been set to be executed at 7 p.m. Thursday, but that was halted after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday granted a stay over concerns of inadequate representation.

As the state rushed to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the ruling and ensure the execution took place as scheduled, a separate federal judge barred the state from using lethal injection to kill Zagorski after it refused his request to die in the electric chair.

Tennessee is one of only of nine states that allow electrocutions. The last electrocution in the U.S. took place in Virginia in January 2013.

Zagorski had asked to die by electrocution just days before his execution because he said the three-drug cocktail the state used constituted cruel and unusual punishment and violated his constitutional rights.

However, the state denied his request, arguing Zagorski waited too long to ask for the electric chair. U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger disagreed with that decision and barred the state's lethal injection method so both Zagorski's request could be honored and more time would be allowed to review the state's lethal cocktail.

Haslam then granted the reprieve.

"I take seriously the responsibility imposed upon the Tennessee Department of Correction and me by law," Haslam said in a statement. "And given the federal court's decision to honor Zagorski's last-minute decision to choose electrocution as the method of execution, this brief reprieve will give all involved the time necessary to carry out the sentence in an orderly and careful manner."

Shortly after the Republican governor's announcement, the Department of Correction said it would return Zagorski to death row after moving him to a "death watch" cell earlier this week.

The Republican governor had said he wouldn't intervene in Zagorski's case.

The temporary reprieve will be in effect until Oct. 21. It's still unknown when Zagorski's new execution date will be set.

"Tennessee's death penalty statute makes it clear that Mr. Zagorski has the right to choose execution by electrocution," Henry said. "While being burned alive and mutilated via electricity is not a good death, Mr. Zagorski knows that death by electric chair will be much quicker than lethal injection using midazolam, a paralytic, and potassium chloride."

Zagorski was sentenced in 1984 in the slayings of John Dotson and Jimmy Porter. Prosecutors said Zagorski shot the men, then slit their throats after robbing them in Robertson County in April 1983. The victims had planned to buy marijuana from Zagorski.

He's been on death row for 34 years, the 2nd longest in Tennessee.

Zagorski's decision to ask for electrocution was based on evidence that Tennessee's lethal injection method would cause him 10 to 18 minutes of mental and physical anguish. He argues the electric chair will be quicker even if it means being set on fire.

In Tennessee, death row inmates whose offenses came before January 1999 can choose either lethal injection or the electric chair. The last time Tennessee put someone to death by electrocution was in 2007.

Source: The Associated Press, October 11, 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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