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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…

Pakistan: Two brothers sentenced to death over "honor killings"

February 29, 2016: A court in Pakistan has sentenced two brothers to death twice for killing their sister and her husband over ‘honour’.

The brothers, Ahsan and Zeeshan Butt, had shot dead their sister, Saba, and her husband, Shafiq, for marrying out of their own will six years ago.

Sessions Judge Naveed Iqbal also imposed a fine of Rs one million each on the convicted men.

The sentence comes days after as Punjab passed first-ever Women Protection Bill that is aimed at safeguarding women’s rights and protecting them from violence and injustice.

The couple, who were residents of Yaki Gate area of Lahore’s walled city, had married of their free will in 2009 and had moved away. But Ahsan and Zeeshan invited them over for a meal and shot dead the couple only a few months after their marriage.

More than 500 men and women died in honour killings in 2015, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

Such crimes are perpetrated for a wide range of offences, marital infidelity, pre-marital sex, flirting, refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of sexual assault, seeking a divorce even from an abusive husband or allegedly committing adultery, can all be perceived as impugning the family honour. 

Sources: en.dailypakistan.com.pk, Feb. 29, 2016

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