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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…

Pakistan: Death row convict sent to gallows in Mianwali

Gallows at an unidentified Pakistani prison
Gallows at an unidentified Pakistani prison
A death row convict was hanged in Mianwali Central Jail on Thursday.

According to details, Mumrez had been convicted in a double murder case. 

He had killed one Fateh Khan and his son Amir in 2005 over a marriage feud. 

His execution was carried out early in the morning.

Pakistan has carried out over 330 executions of criminals and militants since lifting a moratorium on the death penalty in 2014. 

The National Action Plan (NAP) was unveiled to curb militancy after Taliban assailants gunned down more than 150 people, most of them children, at Peshawar's Army Public School on December 16, 2014.

In accordance with the NAP, the 6-year moratorium on the country's death penalty was lifted and the constitution amended to allow military courts to try those accused of carrying out attacks.

The army has launched the Operation Zarb-e-Azb in a bid to wipe out militant bases in North Waziristan tribal area and bring an end to the bloody decade-long insurgency that has cost Pakistan thousands of lives.

Source: Pakistan Today, January 29, 2016


LHC dismisses pleas against military courts' decisions

The Lahore High Court here yesterday dismissed 3 petitions filed against death sentence in terrorism cases by military courts, saying the high court had no jurisdiction to hear pleas against decisions of the military courts.

A division bench comprising Justice Abdul Sami Khan and Justice Shahid Mahmood dismissed the petitions without issuing notices to the respondents. 

The petitions were filed against death penalty of M Ghauri, Abdul Qayyum and Said Zaman. The bench while dismissing the petitions observed that the high court could not hear the pleas under article 199 (3) of the Constitution of Pakistan. 

Advocate Inam-ur-Rahim had filed the petitions against the death penalty, saying proper procedure had not been followed while trying and convicting 3 men by the military courts. 

Momina Bibi, mother of Said Zaman, had petitioned before the high court that her son had been given death sentence by a military court. She said that the military authorities did not inform her about the charges levelled against her son. She said that proper legal procedure was not followed before conviction of her son. 

In an identical petition, Javaid Iqbal Ghauri pleaded to the high court that his son Md Ghauri, a student, went missing from Islamabad in 2010.

He said that in 2012, he was informed that his son was in custody of intelligence agencies and was being kept in an internment centre. 

He noted that in 2012 he met his son who had become crippled at the time. 

He informed the court that on January 1, 2016, he was informed about death penalty handed down to his son. The petitioner said that he was not aware of whereabouts of his son.

In her petition Kalsoom Bibi, wife of Qayyum, said that her husband went missing in 2010. She said that in 2012, she learnt that her husband was in custody of the intelligence agencies. She said that a military court had handed down death sentence to her husband and she was not aware of the charges levelled against her husband. 

Advocate Rahim said that the petitioners on January 4, 2016 wrote letters to military authorities asking for copies of charge sheets against the death convicts. 

Commenting on the decision of the LHC, Advocate Rahim said that the court had observed that the petitioners had failed to point out legal or procedural shortcomings in the trials carried out by military courts. 

The lawyer said that the petitioners actually had no information about any kind of trial or charges against the 3 men. 

Advocate Rahim said that he would challenge the decision of the LHC in the Supreme Court.

Source: The Nation, January 29, 2016


Death warrants issued

A district and sessions judge on Thursday issued death warrants for a prisoner on death row. 

The judge ordered the execution of Zulifqar on February 3 at Kot Lakhpat Jail. 

The court passed the order while accepting an application moved by the Kot Lakhpat Jail superintendent. 

The superintendent had requested the court to issue death warrants for Zulifqar as his appeals had been rejected by the president. 

A sessions court had awarded death penalty to Zulifqar for killing Pervaiz in 1995 in Vehari.

Source: Express Tribune, January 29, 2016

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