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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…

Iran under Hassan Rouhani is among world’s biggest prisons for news and information providers

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani
NCRI - Iran under the rule of the clerical regime has been ranked #173 among 180 countries in the 2015 World Press Freedom Index and “Hassan Rouhani’s installation as president in June 2013 has not had a positive impact on freedom of information,” a report published on Friday by media rights group Reporters Without Borders said.

The authorities have closed newly-created news outlets and, with the active cooperation of a judicial system and the Revolutionary Guards have orchestrated “a wave of arrests resembling the one unleashed five years earlier” after 2009 protests in Iran, the report said.

“The Rouhani administration has played a role in the arrests as a silent accomplice. Iran continues to be one of the world’s five biggest prisons for news and information providers, with 50 journalists and netizens currently detained.”

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Situation of Human Rights in Iran also has expressed concern about the arbitrary and unlawful arrest and prosecution of journalists and activists in Iran has warned that their persecution weakens the protection of human rights of all in Iran.

The Committee to Protect Journalists routinely ranks Iran as one of the worst jailers of reporters in the world.

More than 50 are known to be in custody today, and these constitute only a fraction of the overall population of prisoners who have been targeted simply for their affiliations, their public activities, or their privately expressed political and religious views.

Source: NCRI, January 16, 2016

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