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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…

Death penalty won't be abolished in Bangladesh: Huq

Dhaka, Bangladesh
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Law Minister Anisul Huq has dismissed the chances of an abolition of the death penalty in Bangladesh. 

However, he has said the government will try to avoid capital punishment in future laws.

He spoke of the government stance while talking to reporters after a views-exchange meeting with a delegation of the European Parliament in Dhaka on Thursday.

The minister said, "When the issue of the death penalty was raised, I told them unambiguously that the laws which now provide for the death penalty would not be changed."

"We'll try to do that (abolishing the death penalty) when we enact new laws in future. Since capital punishment is not that much acceptable as punishment, we'll bring about changes," he added.

"But if we think capital punishment is the best weapon to combat any serious crime, the death penalty may remain in a relevant new law," Huq said.

The European Union has long been urging Bangladesh to scrap the death penalty. It made the call even as Bangladesh executed several war criminals after their conviction by war crimes tribunals.

Source: bdnews24.com, Feb. 11, 2016


HC upholds death penalty in ex-UK envoy Anwar attack case

The High Court has reinstated a lower court's verdict that convicted 5 Huji militants for the assassination attempt on former British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury which killed 3 people and left more than 70 others injured at the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal in Sylhet.

The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Amir Hossain gave the verdict in the murder case on Thursday afternoon.

The court started hearing on the death references on January 6 this year.

Anwar, currently serving as the British Ambassador to Peru, along with 70 others sustained injuries in the attack launched after the Jumma prayers on May 21, 2004.

Hailing from Sylhet, Anwar served as the British High Commissioner to Bangladesh until 2008.

3 militants of banned militant outfit Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami Bangladesh (HujiB) - Mufti Abdul Hannan, Sharif Shahedul Alam Bipul, and Md Delwar Hossain alias Ripon - were sentenced to death while 2 others - Hannan's brother Muhibullah alias Muhibur Rahman alias Ovi and Mufti Mainuddin Khaja alias Abu Jandal - given life-term jail by the Sylhet Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal on December 23, 2008.

Another case was filed over the use of explosives is currently under trial at a Sylhet court.

In his confessional statement, Hannan said that Jandal had supplied the grenades through Bipul and Ripon. HujiB received the grenades from Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Source: Dhaka Tribune, Febe; 11, 2016


Bangladesh upholds Islamists' death sentence for UK envoy attack

Mufti Abdul Hannan was behind a number of deadly grenade attacks including on a rally of current PM Sheikh Hasina in Aug 2004.

A Bangladesh court Thursday upheld the death sentence of a top Islamist militant and 2 of his followers for a 2004 failed assassination attack on the British ambassador that left three people dead.

The High Court dismissed appeals by Mufti Abdul Hannan, head of Harkatul Jihad Al Islami, and two members of the banned militant Islamist group who have all been convicted over a spate of deadly attacks.

"The High Court has upheld the verdict. Unless they make another appeal in the country's highest court, there is now no bar to their execution," deputy attorney general Sheikh Moniruzzaman Kabir said.

"Mufti Abdul Hannan was behind a number of deadly grenade attacks including on a rally of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in August 2004 in which more than 20 people were killed," he said.

There was no comment from the defence lawyers, who did not turn up for the verdict.

The trio were convicted of murder and masterminding the grenade attack in May 2004 on then British high commissioner Anwar Choudhury, who was only slightly injured.

The attack came just weeks after the Bangladeshi-born diplomat took up the post and occurred as he was visiting a historic Sufi shrine in the northeastern city of Sylhet.

The High Court also on Thursday upheld life sentences for 2 other militants for their roles in the blast that left 3 worshippers dead and scores injured.

The British High Commission had welcomed the conviction of those involved but opposed the use of the death penalty.

Police said at the time of the attack that the group was plotting "to avenge the deaths of Muslims in Iraq and across the world by America and Britain".

Source: Deccan Chronicle, Feb. 11, 2016

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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning