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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…

Public Hanging in Northwestern Iran; Two Executions in Northern Iran

Public execution in Iran (file photo)
Public execution in Iran (file photo)
Iran Human Rights (JAN 8 2016): On the morning of Thursday January 7, a prisoner was reportedly hanged in public on murder charges.

The execution was reportedly carried out in public in the city of Khoy (in the Iranian province of West Azerbaijan) while a crowd, including Iranian citizens and security agents, watched. Iran state run media Azarnegah identifies the prisoner as "V.R."

According to the report, the prisoner's death sentence was issued by the criminal court in West Azerbaijan and confirmed by the Supreme Court in Iran.

Iran Human Rights (JAN 10 2016): Two prisoners were reportedly hanged at Lakan, Rasht's central prison, on drug charges. 

A report by the press department for Gilan's Judiciary says the executions were carried out on Saturday January 9 and identifies the prisoners as: V.A., 34 years old, sentenced to death for purchase and possession of 87 grams of heroin; and A.T., 33 years old, no previous criminal record, sentenced to death for possession of four kilograms and 960 grams of heroin.

Drug executions continue to rise in Iran, despite strong efforts by Iranian human rights and political bodies to end the death penalty for drug offenses.

Source: Iran Human Rights, January 8-10, 2016

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