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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…

Murderer executed in Saudi Arabia; 72nd execution this year

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
He was found guilty of shooting dead a man following a dispute

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia executed one of its nationals convicted of murder on Sunday, bringing to 72 the number of people put to death in the conservative kingdom this year.

Hadian Al Qahtani was found guilty of shooting dead Abdullah Al Qaoud following a dispute, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

Most people executed in Saudi Arabia are beheaded with a sword.

The executions so far this year include 47 for terrorism carried out in a single day on January 2.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia executed 153 people, most of them for drug trafficking or murder, according to an AFP count.

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

Source: Agence France-Presse, Gulf News, March 14, 2016

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