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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…

Serial human trafficker executed in China after abducting 22 children

Chinese police busted two child-trafficking rings, rescuing 178 children and arresting 608 suspects in Dec. 2011.
Chinese police busted two child-trafficking rings, rescuing
178 children and arresting 608 suspects in Dec. 2011.
A man has been executed in China for the abduction and trafficking of 22 children over the space of 5 years.

China's top court, The Supreme's People's Court, announced today that Tan Yongzhi had been 'condemned to death' in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, reports the People's Daily Online.

Tan kidnapped the children between February 2008 and April 2013 from areas that stretched across south-west China's Yunnan Province to the central area of Henan.

According to the report, the court said Tan's actions and the large number of children he abducted seriously damaged children's rights, which is why he was executed.

The authorities have been unable to locate the birth parents of all the abducted children.

The exact date of the sentencing or execution has not been released.

There has always been a heavy penalty for those convicted of abducting a child in China, and the death penalty is still prominent.

The country has intensified its crackdown on trafficking of women and children in recent years.

In 2012, 1,918 abduction cases involving women and children were solved.

The Supreme People's Court said that number declined massively to 858 cases last year - a drop of almost 50 %.

The amount of people punished for abduction related charges in China declined by more than 1/2, from 2,801 in 2012, to 1,362 in 2015.

Child abduction is a major problem in the country, and finding accurate figures is extremely difficult.

A recent BBC report said that an illegal market in children has developed in the country, and it is estimated that 200,000 children are taken from their parents each year.

In some cases of extreme poverty parents are forced to choose between selling their children and paying fines for having too many, which could explain why some of the birth parents of the children abducted by Tan could never be found.

Source: Daily Mail, January 30, 2016

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