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States to try new ways of executing prisoners. Their latest idea? Opioids.

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The synthetic painkiller fentanyl has been the driving force behind the nation’s opioid epidemic, killing tens of thousands of Americans last year in overdoses. Now two states want to use the drug’s powerful properties for a new purpose: to execute prisoners on death row.
As Nevada and Nebraska push for the country’s first fentanyl-assisted executions, doctors and death penalty opponents are fighting those plans. They have warned that such an untested use of fentanyl could lead to painful, botched executions, comparing the use of it and other new drugs proposed for lethal injection to human experimentation.
States are increasingly pressed for ways to carry out the death penalty because of problems obtaining the drugs they long have used, primarily because pharmaceutical companies are refusing to supply their drugs for executions.
The situation has led states such as Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma to turn to novel drug combinations for executions. Mississippi legalized nitrogen gas this s…

Two given death penalty for Gaza drug smuggling

Execution in Gaza City on October 2, 2013
Execution in Gaza City on October 2, 2013
A Hamas military court on Sunday sentenced 2 Palestinians to death for drug smuggling in the Gaza Strip, in the 1st punishment of its kind in the enclave.

"The Gaza military court announced the death penalty for 2 civilians from Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, for selling narcotics," the Hamas-controlled interior ministry said in a statement.

It said a 3rd suspect was sentenced to hard labor.

Authorities have seized drugs with a street value of around $1 million (900,000 euros) over the past few months, the ministry said.

They seized 1,250 packets of cannabis and 400 pills of Tramadol -- a powerful opiate-based painkiller -- in January alone, it said.

Until Sunday, only people guilty of spying for Israel or murder had received the death penalty in Gaza, controlled by Islamist Hamas since 2007.

All Palestinian death sentences in theory have to be approved by president Mahmoud Abbas, but Hamas has long refused to accept his legitimacy.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights says around a dozen death sentences have been passed down in Gaza since the start of 2017.

Source: The Daily Star, March 19, 2017

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