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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning

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To cope with his dread, John Kitzhaber opened his leather-bound journal and began to write.
It was a little past 9 on the morning of Nov. 22, 2011. Gary Haugen had dropped his appeals. A Marion County judge had signed the murderer's death warrant, leaving Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, to decide Haugen's fate. The 49-year-old would soon die by lethal injection if the governor didn't intervene.
Kitzhaber was exhausted, having been unable to sleep the night before, but he needed to call the families of Haugen's victims.
"I know my decision will delay the closure they need and deserve," he wrote.
The son of University of Oregon English professors, Kitzhaber began writing each day in his journal in the early 1970s. The practice helped him organize his thoughts and, on that particular morning, gather his courage.
Kitzhaber first dialed the widow of David Polin, an inmate Haugen beat and stabbed to death in 2003 while already serving a life sentence fo…

8 Hanged On Christmas Eve in Northern Iran; 26 Hanged between Dec. 22 and 24

Iran Human Rights, December 25, 2015: Two prisoners were hanged in the Ghezelhesar prison of Karaj (west of Tehran) on December 23, according to Iran Human Rights (IHR) sources in Iran.

The prisoners were identified as "Mehdi Khorram" and "Ebrahim Khorram" and were in their 30's. Both the prisoners were convicted of drug offences and were held in Unit 2 of Ghezelhesar prison.

IHR has received pictures of the prisoners. Iranian authorities have not announced the executions yet.

Several thousand prisoners sentenced to death for drug offences are held in the Ghezelhesar prison.

Iran Human Rights, December 25, 2015: Eight prisoners were hanged in the prison of Qazvin, northwest of Tehran, reported the official website of the Iranian Judiciary in Qazvin.

The prisoners were all convicted of drug offences and hanged on 24. December. Seven of the prisoners were identified as "Sajjad H.", "Ali B.", "Maher B.", "Habib M.", "Hossein A.", "Vahid A." and "Rahim K.M.".

Eight other prisoners were hanged in the same prison two days earlier on December 22. In 2015, several hudred prisoners have been executed in Iran for drug-related charges.

Despite this, the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) recently signed a new cooperation agreement on fighting the drug trafficking with Iran.

Iran Human Rights (DEC 24 2015): Eight men with alleged drug charges were reportedly hanged at Qazvin Central Prison on the morning of Tuesday December 23.

According to the press department of the Judiciary in the province of Qazvin, quoting the Public Prosecutor of Qazvin city, the prisoners are: M.Rahnama, 35 years old; M. Faryab, 38 years old; Haj Rafiee, 40 years old; A. Bagharzadeh, 33 years old; B. Chekanloo, 35 years old; S. Kalhor, 31 years old; A. Habibzadeh, 29 years old; and Gh. Moradi, 38 years old.

A day earlier at Qazvin Central Prison, Iranian authorities hanged "A. Fallah", a man accused of murder and sentenced to death.

Earlier in the month, 70 Iranian MPs presented a proposal to Parliament calling for an end to the death penalty for unarmed drug offenders.

Source: Iran Human Rights, December 24-25, 2015

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