Posts

Showing posts from June, 2022

FEATURED POST

USA | Lethal Injections Are Crueler Than Most People Imagine. I’ve Seen the Evidence Firsthand.

Image
Alabama is pausing the use of the execution method after two botched attempts, but physicians need to refuse to ever participate in making them possible. Lethal injection is not a medical act, but it impersonates one. The method of judicial execution works by shuttling medicines, repurposed as poison, directly into a vein via an intravenous catheter. Intravenous use is a ubiquitous method for drug and fluid delivery that most anyone might recognize, either by direct experience when sick or by observation in others when others are sick. According to the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, punishment cannot be cruel, and when lethal injection causes death, the outward result can be extraordinarily mild and bloodless. I speak from experience. As a physician, I was invited by Georgia prisoner Marcus Wellons to watch his execution on June 17, 2014. Lethal injection is a highly curated event; even my medical trained eye could detect very little. Wellons died quietly and quickly. I’ve

USA | It Is Time to End the Lethal Injection Mess

Image
On June 23, amidst all furor over its gun rights and abortion decisions, the Supreme Court handed down a little noticed death penalty decision, Nance v Ward . In that case, a five-Justice majority ruled that death row inmates could file suits using 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, a federal law that authorizes citizens to sue in federal court for the deprivation of rights, to bring suit alleging that an execution method violated the Eighth Amendment. Michael Nance, who was sentenced to death in 2002, will now be able to proceed with his suit contesting Georgia’s plan to execute him by lethal injection. Nance suffers from medical conditions that have compromised his veins. To use lethal injection, the only execution method now authorized by state law, prison authorities would have to “cut his neck” to establish an intravenous execution line. He also claims that his long-time use of a drug for back pain would diminish the effect of the sedative used in Georgia’s drug cocktail. Nance alleges that

Georgia | Newly sentenced death row inmate commits suicide

Image
Man convicted of guards’ murders kills himself in prison, officials say. Ricky Dubose was sentenced to death for the 2017 murders of two guards during an escape from a Georgia prison bus. Just 10 days after being sentenced to death for the 2017 murders of two corrections officers, a Georgia prisoner died of an apparent suicide, authorities said. State prison officials confirmed Sunday evening that Ricky Dubose was found unresponsive in his cell at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, where the state houses its death-sentenced prisoners. Few details were released, but the Georgia Department of Corrections said the 29-year-old was discovered by guards about 4:45 p.m. Life-saving measures were performed but Dubose was pronounced dead by the coroner more than an hour later. The GDC and the GBI are investigating the in-custody death, which is standard procedure, officials said. Dubose was convicted earlier this month of felony and malice murder in the June 2017 shoot

Philippine push for death penalty return resurfaces

Image
Anti-crime groups back efforts to push bill through Congress when Marcos becomes president At least 3 anti-crime groups in the Philippines are backing fresh calls to reinstate the death penalty for heinous crimes and drug lords. The Federation of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Campaign, together with the Anti-Crime Council of the Philippines and the Fight Drug Trade Movement, issued a joint statement on June 26 saying they would join efforts to push President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. into reinstating capital punishment, which was abolished in 2006 by former president Gloria Arroyo. “Our group has reached the conclusion that we need the death penalty to curb rising heinous crimes in the Philippines. Capital punishment provides benefits to society such as instilling fear into criminals, especially in a country where discipline is wanting,” the groups said. The call came after a recent survey revealed that more than 50 % of the population believed the death penalty was effective in p

Florida | Jury chosen to decide school shooter's sentence

Image
A jury of seven men and five women was chosen Tuesday for a penalty trial to decide whether Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz should be sentenced to death or get life in prison for the 2018 attack, capping a nearly three-month winnowing process that began with 1,800 candidates. The jurors were picked from a final group of 53 candidates by prosecutors and defense attorneys. Those chosen survived three rounds of questioning that began on April 4 and dragged on through numerous delays. Eight to 10 alternates were still being chosen Tuesday. The jury will decide whether Cruz, 23, receives the death sentence or life in prison without parole for the murders of 14 students and three staff members at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018. Cruz pleaded guilty in October to those murders and 17 counts of attempted murder, so the jurors will only decide his punishment. They must be unanimous for Cruz to get the death penalty — if at least one votes for life, that

Three Belarusian 'Railway Guerrillas' May Face Death Penalty

Image
MINSK -- Three Belarusian activists who were arrested for allegedly damaging railways in the country to disrupt Russian arms and troops supply to war-torn Ukraine may face the death penalty if convicted. The Investigative Committee said on June 29 that a probe launched into the case of the three activists in the southeastern region of Homel had been completed, with the suspects expected to face trial in the near future. The three men were among some 60 activists arrested for their alleged involvement in damaging Belarus's railways to impede the progress of Russian troops and arms to Ukraine as part of Moscow's ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The other cases are still being investigated. The Investigative Committee did not identify the trio, giving only their ages -- 29, 33, and 51 -- and calling them 'traitors of the motherland." The Minsk-based Vyasna (Spring) human rights center has identified the men as Dzmitry Ravich, Dzyanis Dzikun, and Aleh Malchanau, all

Iran | Two Executed in Karaj, Man Executed for Murder in Jiroft, Man Executed in Kerman

Image
Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); June 28, 2022: Nasrollah Iliad, sentenced to qisas for murder, and an identified man sentenced to death for rape, were executed in Karaj Penitentiary. According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, at least two men were executed in Karaj Penitentiary on June 27. One of the men’s identities has been established as 40-year-old Nasrollah Iliad who was sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for murder. The identity of the second man who was sentenced to death for rape has not been established at the time of writing. An informed source told Iran Human Rights that Nasrollah Iliad was married with a child and had killed his landlord during a physical altercation. At the time of writing, neither of their executions have been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran. According to data gathered by Iran Human Rights, at least 183 people were executed on murder charges in 2021. Those charged with the umbrella term of “intentional murder” are sentenced

UAE drops death sentence for Israeli woman in drug case

Image
JERUSALEM (AP) — The United Arab Emirates has canceled a death sentence issued earlier this year to an Israeli woman who was convicted of cocaine possession, her lawyer said Tuesday. The case was a potential test of ties between the two countries, which normalized relations in 2020, in the first of the so-called Abraham Accords between Israel and four Arab countries brokered by the Trump administration. Fida Kiwan, a 43-year-old resident of the northern Israeli city of Haifa, was sentenced in April. The Israeli news site Ynet said at the time that Kiwan was arrested on March 21, 2021, with half a kilogram (over 1 pound) of cocaine that she claimed did not belong to her. Mordechai Tzivin, an Israeli lawyer representing her, said the death sentence was dropped on appeal but that she would likely still get a lengthy prison sentence. There was no immediate comment from Israeli or Emirati authorities. Normalization has turned glitzy Dubai into a freewheeling Israeli tourist destination. Isr

Norway | Gunman kills 2, wounds more than 20 in alleged terror attack at Pride festival

Image
A gunman opened fire in Oslo’s night-life district early Saturday, killing two people and leaving more than 20 wounded in what the Norwegian security service called an "Islamist terror act" during the capital’s annual LGBTQ Pride festival. Investigators said the suspect, identified as a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen originally from Iran, was arrested after opening fire at three locations in downtown Oslo. Police said two men, one in his 50s and and the other in his 60s, died in the shootings. Ten people were treated for serious injuries, but none of them was believed to be in life-threatening condition. Eleven others had minor injuries. The Norwegian Police Security Service raised its terror alert level from "moderate" to “extraordinary” — the highest level — after the attack, which sent panicked revelers fleeing into the streets or trying to hide from the gunman. The service's acting chief, Roger Berg, called the attack an “extreme Islamist terror act” and said

How A Gay Man's Execution Forced An Examination Of Anti-LGBTQ Bias Among Juries

Image
After Charles Rhines, a gay man, was convicted of murder, jurors weighing a death sentence argued that sending him to prison for life would have been “sending him where he wants to go” because of all the men there. Advocates around the country are fighting jury discrimination after one man’s sexuality was a contributing factor in his 2019 execution. Charles Rhines confessed to murdering 22-year-old Donnivan Schaefer during a 1992 burglary in South Dakota. The defendant went to a Rapid City doughnut shop — from which he’d been fired weeks earlier — forced Schaefer into a storeroom, tied him up and stabbed him repeatedly in the stomach, according to CBS News. RELATED |  South Dakota executes Charles Rhines The controversy in Rhines’ case came during the sentencing phase of his 1993 murder trial, when jurors were left to decide between a sentence of life in prison or death by execution.  He received the death penalty — in part because the men and women tasked with deciding his fate said t