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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: Supreme Court Confirms 100 Death Sentences for Ghezel Hesar Prisoners

Death row inmates in Ghezel Hesar Prison, Iran
Death row inmates in Ghezel Hesar Prison, Iran
Iran Human Rights (MAR 2 2016): In the last month Iran's Supreme Court has reportedly confirmed 100 death sentences for drug offenses.

At least 100 prisoners in Ghezel Hesar Prison (in Karaj, northern Iran) are in imminent danger of execution after their death sentences were reportedly confirmed by Iran's Supreme Court.

Iran Human Rights is aware of some of their names: Amir Ali Kakavand, Hamed Nazarirad, Seyed Ali Jalali, Afshin Kehrari, Mohsen Eydi, Hamid Moradi, Iman Esmaeili, Hossein Azari, Kavous Farhadi, Mohammad Zareh, Majid Vadipour, Reza Karimzadeh, Mahmoud Davarpanah, and Alireza Keshavarz.

A prisoner in Ghezel Hesar Prison tells IHR: A prosecutor from the revolutionary court visited the prison and told the prisoners they've reached the end of the line and should prepare for execution because their death sentences were confirmed by the Supreme Court.

According to close sources, the prisoners objected to their death sentences but were not given the chance to appeal before the Supreme Court issued confirmation. In the past many prisoners in Iran with drug charges have not been granted the right to appeal.

After a two-month break it appears that Iranian authorities may be preparing for a new wave of executions. Iran Human Rights is deeply concerned and calls on the international community to focus on the death penalty in Iran. "We are warning against a new wave of executions in Iran. Iranian authorities have a pattern of reducing the number of executions a few weeks before an election and then executing a large number of prisoners afterwards," says Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, spokesperson of Iran Human Rights.

In December 2015, 70 members of Iran's parliament reportedly signed a proposal for a change in legislation to end the death penalty for drug offenses. The bill must be approved by Iran's Guardian Council before it can be passed. Iran Human Rights and several other human rights NGOs have repeatedly called on the United Nation Office on Drugs & Crime and donor countries to stop providing equipment, funding, and technology to Iran until the death penalty is no longer issued for drug offenses.

Click here for photos of Ghezel Hesar prisoners on death row in the prison's courtyard. This is the first time the photos of these prisoners is being published. They are all in imminent danger of execution.

Source: Iran Human Rights, March 2, 2016

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