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MISSOURI, USA. FEDERAL JUDGE HALTS EXECUTIONS

June 26, 2006: a federal judge halted executions in Missouri until the state makes sweeping changes to ensure that inmates do not suffer excruciating pain when they are put to death. US District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. cited "numerous problems" with the state's lethal injections, including a lack of a written protocol setting drug levels and a dyslexic doctor who is in charge of mixing the three drugs used.
Gaitan said the state's practices subject condemned inmates to an unnecessary risk of unconstitutional pain and suffering. Ruling in the case of condemned inmate Michael Taylor, he gave the Department of Corrections until July 15 to come up with a new protocol, and said no executions can occur until he approves it.
Gaitan's ruling is not binding anywhere but in Missouri, but the US Supreme Court ruled this month that condemned inmates can make special federal court claims that the chemicals used in executions are too painful.
Missouri Corrections Director Larry Crawford said in a hearing before Gaitan two weeks ago that he would clarify the execution protocol. He testified after learning that the surgeon who is the sole person in charge of mixing the drugs had prepared a lower-than-expected dose of anesthesia for the last several inmates who were put to death.
The surgeon testified he had been administering 2.5 grams of thiopental, which is supposed to render the inmate unconscious and is the first of the three drugs Missouri uses in executions. Gaitan ordered the state to use at least double that amount.
Gaitan, who sits on the federal bench in Kansas City, also said he was concerned about the dyslexia of the surgeon, whose identity is a closely held secret. Someone else administers the drugs.
"The court is gravely concerned that a physician who is solely responsible for correctly mixing the drugs ... has a condition which causes him confusion with regard to numbers," Gaitan wrote.
Gaitan said a board-certified anesthesiologist must be responsible for mixing the drugs, and must either administer the drugs intravenously or directly observe those who do. The anesthesiologist must ensure the inmate has achieved "sufficient anesthetic depth" before receiving the final two drugs, which paralyze the inmate and stop the inmate's heart. The heart-stopping drug, potassium chloride, causes excruciating pain.
A lawyer for Taylor, who won a stay in February hours before his execution had been scheduled, said his legal team was encouraged.
"We believe it's a significant step toward remedying some of the very serious defects in Missouri's lethal injection procedure," Eric Berger said. (Sources: Associated Press, 27/06/2006)

MOLDOVA. PARLIAMENT EXLUDES DEATH PENALTY FROM CONSTITUTION
GUANTANAMO. US TOP COURT DECLARES GUANTANAMO TRIBUNALS ILLEGAL
IRAQ. 22 EXECUTIONS AND 260 DEATH SENTENCES IN TWO YEARS
PAKISTAN. 4 MEN HANGED FOR GANG RAPE OF CHRISTIAN WOMAN
CHINA. 52 EXECUTED ON ANTI-DRUG DAY
IRAN. WOMAN SENTENCED TO DEATH BY STONING
NORTH KOREA. THREE PUBLICLY EXECUTED
IRAQ. SAVING SADDAM FROM EXECUTION IS OPPORTUNITY FOR ITALY FOLLOWING DECISION TO WITHDRAW TROOPS, ROSE IN THE FIST
IRAN. SIX MEN HANGED
IRAQ. GIVE ME THE APPOINTMENT TO SAVE SADDAM AND HIS EVENTUAL EXECUTIONERS, PANNELLA
THE PHILIPPINES. PRESIDENT SIGNS LAW ABOLISHING DEATH PENALTY
KYRGYZSTAN. PRO-UIGHUR 'EXTREMIST' SENTENCED TO DEATH
IRAQ. SADDAM SHOULDN'T BE EXECUTED, CARDINAL
IRAN. TWO MEN PUBLICLY HANGED
THE PHILIPPINES. EIGHT MEN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KIDNAPPING
IRAN. MAN PUBLICLY HANGED FOR MURDER
THE PHILIPPINES. MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR RAPE AND MURDER
TEXAS, USA. MAN EXECUTED FOR 1999 TRIPLE MURDER
SAUDI ARABIA. MAN BEHEADED FOR MURDER
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. COURT COMMUTES DEATH BY STONING SENTENCE
SOMALIA. ISLAMIC COURT CARRIES OUT EXECUTION
IRAQ. PROSECUTORS SEEK DEATH FOR SADDAM
IRAQ. HANDS OFF CAIN, ''HANDS OFF SADDAM''
IRAQ. ‘NO TO THE DEATH PENALTY FOR SADDAM HUSSEIN’, CAPPATO
CUBA. DISSIDENTS ASK FOR AMNESTY FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS, MORATORIUM ON EXECUTIONS
EGYPT. 2 MEN HANGED FOR TAKING HOSTAGES
IRAN. WOMAN AND A MAN HANGED IN SOUTHEASTERN PROVINCE
ITALY. HANDS OFF CAIN WELCOMES FOREIGN MINISTER’S COMMITMENT IN ABOLISHMENT OF DEATH PENALTY
PAKISTAN. MAN HANGED FOR MURDER
PAKISTAN. DEATH PENALTY FOR SUNNI MILITANT

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IRAN: HANDS OFF CAIN, THE HANGING OF THE PROTESTER MOSTAFA SALEHI IS A SHAME FOR THE SO-CALLED DEMOCRATIC WORLD 
  USA: ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’, BUT IS IT ONLY RACISM?  
  IRAN. HANDS OFF CAIN, REDUCTION OF DRUG EXECUTIONS BUT NUMBERS REMAIN WORRISOME  
  HUMAN RIGHTS: DEMONSTRATION OF THE RADICAL PARTY BEFORE IRANIAN EMBASSY 14 FEBRUARY  
  BELARUS EXECUTES TWO CONVICTED MURDERERS  
  MALAYSIA: GOVT HALTS EXECUTION OF 1,200 DEATH ROW INMATES  
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