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

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

Saudis celebrate soccer but shrug off public beheadings

Saudi Arabia may have pulled off a miracle by defeating Argentina at the FIFA World Cup, leading to much rejoicing among its citizens, but in the last 10 days, the Kingdom also earned the distinction of public brutality when it invoked its medieval Islamic laws to behead 12 people in public by a sword-wielding executioner.

The defendants were sentenced to death after being imprisoned on non-violent drug charges and included four Syrians, three Pakistanis, three Saudis, and two Jordanians, according to the U.K. Telegraph. With these executions, the total number of people beheaded this year is at least 132, exceeding those of 2020 and 2021 combined, reported AFP.

Some of the beheadings had taken place as Saudi Prime Minister Muhammad Bin Salman sat next to the FIFA Chief in Qatar on Sunday after vowing to reduce the number of public beheadings.

Earlier, in March this year, Saudi Arabia sparked an international outcry when it executed 81 people in a single day for terrorism-related offences, leading the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to urge Saudi authorities to “bring the country’s counterterrorism laws fully into line with international standards”.

The conservative kingdom that is governed by Islamic Sharia is not the only country in the region to impose the death penalty. Neighbouring Kuwait on Wednesday put to death seven prisoners in a rare mass execution in the small, oil-rich Arab nation despite facing international criticism over its plans.

The state-run KUNA news agency described those executed as all being convicted of premeditated murder and other charges in the sheikhdom. It identified those killed as three Kuwaiti men, one Kuwaiti woman, a Syrian man, a Pakistani man and an Ethiopian woman.

Ms. Bachelet, a former Chilean socialist politician, said among those put to death in March, 41 were Muslims from the Shiite minority who had taken part in anti-government protests in 2011-12, calling for greater political participation. Another seven were Yemenis, and one was a Syrian national.

Ms. Bachelet said, “Our monitoring indicates that some of those executed were sentenced to death following trials that did not meet fair trial and due process guarantees, and for crimes that did not appear to meet the most serious crimes threshold, as required under international law.”

Words that obviously fell on deaf ears in a region and culture where due process and presumption of innocence are concepts that still do not resonate even among the most liberal and educated classes.

The High Commissioner also expressed concern that some of the executions appeared to be linked to the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen between Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition backing the internationally recognized Government forces.

Implementing death sentences following trials that do not provide the required “fair trial guarantees” is prohibited by international human rights and humanitarian law and “may amount to a war crime,” the UN rights chief reminded the Saudis. Moreover, the death penalty is “incompatible with fundamental tenets of human rights and dignity, the right to life and the prohibition of torture,” she added.

She said that failure to provide relatives with information on the circumstances of their loved ones’ executions “may amount to torture and ill-treatment.”

“Authorities should return the bodies of those executed to their families,” underscored the top UN human rights official.

Ms. Bachelet voiced her concern over the extremely broad definition of terrorism in Saudi legislation, including non-violent acts that supposedly “endanger national unity” or “undermine the State’s reputation.”

Her words asking the Kingdom to resist the temptation to kill and publicly behead those judged to have spoken their minds will make no impression She warned the Saudis that their acts risk “criminalizing people exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

I can only imagine the chuckles and laughter among the Saudi male royalty at being lectured by a mere woman. After all, most Muslims are taught that it is Allah that made women inferior to men and that the witness of two women is equal to the testimony of one male.

And if Islamic Sharia determines the death penalty for a non-violent crime such as ‘apostasy’ or belief in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, then who are ordinary men to overwrite or amend laws that lead to public beheadings by sword-wielding defenders of the faith?

This is why, despite a global move away from the death penalty, Saudi Arabia is among some 38 countries that continue to implement it.

In a call from the wilderness, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights pleaded to the men who run Saudi Arabia as a private domain: “I call on the Saudi authorities to halt all executions, immediately establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty and commute the death sentences against those on death row.”

Fat chance she had an audience.

Source: edmontonsun.com, Tarek Fatah, November 23, 2022

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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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