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

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…

Indonesia: 18 people caned in Aceh for gambling, dating and consuming liquor

Public caning in Aceh, Indonesia (file photo)
Public caning in Aceh, Indonesia (file photo)
The Banda Aceh Prosecutor's Office held a public caning on Tuesday to punish 18 people for having violated Aceh's Islamic bylaws, locally known as Qanun.

The 10 convicts who had been caught gambling received a sentence of eight strokes, previously reduced by two strokes due to a detention period, six convicts received 40 strokes for consuming liquor and two were punished for dating. The latter two, a 21-year old and a 19-year old, both university students, received 10 strokes after a two strokes reduction had been granted due to a period of detention.

The convicts had all been accused of violating articles listed in the Qanun, as issued in 2014, Antara news agency reported.

Punishments were applied across all regions of Aceh, said Banda Aceh Mayor Illiza Saaduddin Djamal

"This punishment is a form of learning. People who witness the caning should be encouraged not to commit the same crime as those who have been found guilty of violating Islamic sharia," Illiza said.

During the public punishment, Illiza told students who had been waiting to view the caning to go back to school, allowing them to return to watch if their teacher met with her first and only if their teacher stayed to accompany them.

Both the police and Public Order Agency officers guarded the public caning centered at Musala Gampong Rukoh complex, Syiah Kuala District, Banda Aceh.

Among the onlookers were Illiza, Banda Aceh Prosecutor's Office head Husni Thamrin, Banda Aceh city administration officials, and thousands of other local residents.

Source: Jakarta Post, March 2, 2015

Indonesia plans anti-gay ‘propaganda’ law over ‘national security’ issues

No easy job: Being gay in Indonesia
Indonesia is believed to be drafting its own anti-gay ‘propaganda’ bill.

Following on from Russia’s 2013 bill, signed by President Putin, banning the ‘promotion of non-traditional sexual relations’, Indonesia could be getting its own.

Amid a crackdown on LGBT content on sites like Facebook and Tumblr, the Communications and Information Minister is reportedly drafting a bill to comprehensively ban LGBT “propaganda”.

Speaking to the Jakarta Post, a spokesman for the ministry, Ismail Cawidu, said it was setting up a panel to discuss the issue.

“The House commission has urged us, so we have to follow up on their proposal. However, the panel will still refer to the mechanism [to ban such websites] as stipulated in the prevailing provision,” said Cawidu on Friday.

The law has been proposed by the House of Representatives Commission, the chair of which Mahfudz Siddiq, suggested that the issue was a matter of “national security”.

“LGBT issues can damage national security, identity, culture and the faith of Indonesians,” Siddiq told The Jakarta Post, going on to say that it could trigger societal unrest.

Despite this, Indonesia Ulema Council chairman Din Syamsuddin said people should not direct hatred towards LGBT people.

”We need to give the LGBT people direction, especially for the LGBT people who realise that homosexuality is indecent behaviour,” said Din.

This is the latest in a series of moves to crack down on LGBT content online.

According to reports, the emojis, only introduced in recent years, and which show same-sex couples and families, have already been dropped by messaging app Line.

The government in the increasingly conservative Indonesia has now urged other major social media players to remove the icons for users.

The government in the increasingly conservative Indonesia has now urged other major social media players to remove the icons for users.

Under the 2008 Pornography Law, a Government spokesman said he had written to Tumblr demanding that the explicit content be removed.

The Communications and Information Ministry’s e-business director Azhar Hasyim has written to Tumblr.

In January, higher education minister Muhammad Nasir suggested LGBT people should be banned from universities if they engage in public displays of affection.

Last year, an Indonesian province introduced a harsh new law that re-introduces caning as a punishment for homosexuality – and it also applies to foreign tourists.

The brutal practise takes place in the province of Aceh – the only part of the Asian nation which enforces Islamic Sharia law and has autonomous control over crime and punishment.

The country’s leading mental health authority last week said it believes homosexuality should not be left ‘untreated’.

Indonesia has banned men from behaving effeminately or dressing in women’s clothing on television.

The country’s Broadcasting Commission (KPI) has also issued a directive banning men from behaving “like women”, after receiving complaints from viewers.

Source: Pink News, Joseph Patrick McCormick, March 5, 2016

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