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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…

Saudi Arabia: Three executed for drug trafficking

Public beheading in KSA (file photo)
Public beheading in KSA (file photo)
February 17, 2016: Saudi Arabia beheaded one of its citizens and two Yemeni nationals on charges of drug trafficking, bringing to 63 the number of decapitations in the kingdom since the start of year.

Saudi national, Daifallah al-Omrani, was executed in the northern region of Tabuk after his conviction for smuggling amphetamines, the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Yemeni nationals Ahmed Mubarak and Abdul Salam al-Jamali were beheaded in the southwestern city of Jizan, on charges of attempting to smuggle hashish into the kingdom.

According to an AFP count, Saudi Arabia carried out 153 executions, including 71 foreign nationals, in 2015. 

This number of executions in terms of annual basis in Saudi Arabia has been unseen since 1995.

The kingdom practises a strict Islamic legal code under which murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Source: Agence France-Presse, Feb. 17, 2016

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