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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…

Indian jailed for 14 years in Bali drug-smuggling case

Bali's Kerobokan prison
Bali's Kerobokan prison
An Indian man was jailed for 14 years today for trying to bring crystal methamphetamine into the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Denpasar (Indonesia), March 28: An Indian man was jailed for 14 years today for trying to bring crystal methamphetamine into the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Sayed Mohammed Said was arrested with 1.5 kilograms (53 ounces) of the narcotics hidden inside his backpack when he arrived at Bali airport from Bangkok in September. The 30-year-old claimed the package belonged to a friend and he did not know it contained drugs.

But he was found guilty Monday at a court in the Balinese capital Denpasar, and a judge handed down the 14-year sentence.

The prison term was lower than the 20 years recommended by prosecutors and he escaped a possible death penalty. 

Indonesia has some of the world’s toughest anti-narcotics laws. People caught smuggling more than five grams of some controlled substances can be sentenced to death.

Said’s lawyer Daniar Trisasongko said his client was still considering whether to appeal.

“The verdict is too stern considering my client was unaware he was carrying drugs. We will study it further before deciding the next step,” Trisasongko told AFP.

Foreigners are frequently arrested for attempting to smuggle narcotics into Bali, a popular holiday destination famed for its palm-fringed beaches.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo launched a tough campaign against narcotics use in 2014, which culminated in the execution by firing squad last year of seven foreign drug convicts including two Australians.

But the move drew worldwide condemnation, and the government has since shown little sign of preparing for more executions, saying it is focused on fixing the economy.

Source: Press Trust of India, March 28, 2016

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