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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…

Bali: Lindsay Sandiford sets up knitting venture behind bars to provide desperately needed funds for a final appeal

British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford (centre) on Death Row in Bali for smuggling cocaine has set up a knitting venture behind bars to provide desperately needed funds for a final appeal
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford (centre) on Death Row in Bali has set
up a knitting venture behind bars to provide desperately needed funds
for a final appeal. (Photo: Daily Mail Online)
A British grandmother on death row in Bali for smuggling cocaine has set up a knitting venture behind bars to provide desperately needed funds for a final appeal.

As her execution date draws close, Lindsay Sandiford, 59, has taught 20 other inmates to knit, and they now work in their cells making teddy bears, jumpers, shawls, Nativity scenes and Easter boxes, which are sent to church groups in Australia.

Sales of the items have so far generated more than 7,000 pounds towards Sandiford's appeal, as well as money for wool and extra meals and provisions for those inmates who make the items in sweltering conditions inside Bali's Kerobokan jail.

The items have become crucial to Sandiford's chances of survival as she tries to lodge her appeal.

The Indonesian authorities are poised to resume executions after a temporary moratorium on the death penalty ended on Friday.

Sandiford was sentenced to death in January 2013 and could face execution at any time.

Her chances of having a final appeal are in jeopardy after her lawyer Chris Harno was arrested last month for corruption. He has yet to be replaced.

Even if another lawyer is found, Sandiford remains 15,000 pounds short of the 40,000 pounds needed to pay for legal fees for the hearing.

She has already missed a November deadline for filing her appeal papers, and Indonesia's attorney general said last week that a new list of convicted drug traffickers to be executed in 2016 was being prepared.

Sandiford set up the knitting operation with the support of Christian pastors who visit her in prison after she was denied funding by the UK Government for her appeal against the death penalty.

Bali's Kerobokan Prison
Bali's Kerobokan Prison
Speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday from Kerobokan prison, Sandiford said she began with wool brought in by her sister to make a Christening blanket for her granddaughter Ayla, who was born after Sandiford's arrest in 2012 for smuggling 10.6lb of cocaine.

'Knitting stops me from going insane,' she said. 'I can blank everything out. It calms me down and I'm doing something useful.

'For the other women, they earn money to pay for food and learn a skill they can take out of prison.'

Sandiford was initially listed for execution in September last year following the killing of 14 other drug traffickers earlier in the year. They included her friend and mentor, Australian Andrew Chan.

'Andrew told me to treat each day as if it were my last,' she said. 'I do but sometimes it is overwhelming. Every 10 minutes there is a story about when I'll be executed.

'Sometimes it would be better not knowing. I don't want to wallow in self-pity, so I feel sorry for myself for 5 minutes and then get on with things.'

Sandiford claims she was forced to carry cocaine from Bangkok after threats to the life of her younger son, and she received the death penalty despite co-operating with police in a sting operation to arrest people higher up in the syndicate.

The plot's alleged ringleader, Briton Julian Ponder, who conducted a behind-bars romance with British Vice-Consul Alys Harahap that led to her sacking, is expected to walk free next year after serving a 6-year term with remission.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has repeatedly refused to help fund Sandiford's appeal, despite a recommendation to consider doing so from 5 Supreme Court judges in London.

The judges said 'substantial mitigating factors' had been overlooked in her original trial.

Source: Daily Mail, January 2, 2016


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Lindsay Sandiford needs your help today. Without it, she may soon be executed by firing squad in Indonesia for a crime that she was forced to commit, and for which she doesn’t deserve to die.
  • Please sign the petition at the Avaaz website.
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