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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: Death sentence of Kurdish juvenile offender finalized

Heyman Uraminezhad
Heyman Uraminezhad
The Iranian judiciary has finalized the death sentence that had been handed down to a young Kurdish man who was under the age of 18 at the time of his alleged crime.

The country’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence issued for a young man by the name of Heyman Uraminezhad.

This young man is currently held in Sanandaj Central Prison waiting for his sentence to be carried out.

Heyman is currently 21 years old and was convicted of premeditated murder by the Sanandaj Prime Court.

Iran under the rule of the clerical regime is one of the leading executioners of juvenile offenders, Amnesty International said Monday.

In a new report, Amnesty International said last month that it had documented the execution of at least 73 juveniles in Iran from 2005 to 2015 and that 160 juvenile offenders are languishing on the country’s death row.

According to the Amnesty International, the report was based on information received from death-penalty opponents and human rights defenders in Iran, as well as from lawyers and relatives of juveniles convicted of capital crimes in Iran.

Now that Iran is emerging from an era of international sanctions and is seeking broader acceptance, Ms. Auerbach said, rights groups are hoping that the Iranian authorities “realize they have to act in accordance with international human rights standards.”

There have been over 2,300 executions in Iran since Hassan Rouhani has been in office, more than in any similar period in the past 25 years.

The victims include political dissidents like Gholamreza Khosravi, an activist of Iran’s principal opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) who was hanged solely for providing financial assistance to a satellite television station supporting the opposition.

On April 20, 2014 Rouhani described these executions as “God’s commandments” and “laws of the parliament that belongs to the people.”

Source: NCRI, Feb. 23, 2016

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