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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…

Saudi beheads 73rd person this year

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Saudi Arabia has beheaded one of its citizens after sentencing him to death for murder, bringing to 73 the number of such executions in the kingdom since the start of the year.

The convicted man, identified as Omar al-Rabie, was beheaded on Wednesday, the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The ministry added that al-Rabie was found guilty of shooting to death his fellow Saudi citizen Ghanem Salem in a dispute.

According to AFP tallies, the latest execution brings to 73 the number of locals and foreigners put to death this year.

In the most stunning case, Saudi Arabia executed on January 2 Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr along with 46 other people in defiance of international calls for the release of the prominent Shia cleric and other jailed political dissidents in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia carried out 153 executions, including 71 foreign nationals, in 2015. This number of executions in terms of annual basis in Saudi Arabia has been unseen since 1995.

Under the Saudi law, apostasy, armed robbery, drug trafficking, rape, homosexuality and murder carry the death penalty. Beheading with a sword is the most common form of execution in Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh has been under fire for having one of the world's highest execution rates.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the Saudi regime to abolish its "ghastly" beheadings.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has recently called on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its gross human rights violations.

In a statement to the 31st meeting of UNHRC, the rights group said that the kingdom has breached international humanitarian laws on numerous occasions.

Source: albawaba.com, March 17, 2016


KSA takes pride in applying Sharia Law

Medieval and barbaric punishments: Beheading of a Burmese woman
in Saudi Arabia in January 2015 (more here)
The delegate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to the United Nations Ambassador Faisal Trad stressed the fundamentals of the kingdom as being proud in applying the provisions of the tolerant Islamic Sharia which ensures justice, rights and duties for all equally without any discrimination.

He added that the best proof of that is the level of growth, prosperity and progress experienced by the kingdom and the Saudi society of all sects and individuals of both sexes compared with many countries of the world.

Ambassador Trad made the remarks as he delivered the kingdom's reply to what was stated by a number of European countries especially Germany, Iceland and Ireland on human rights in the kingdom before the Human Rights Council held in Geneva.

He said that the provisions of Islamic law, Saudi applicable regulations and the kingdom's international obligations ensure non-violation of the right of any human being and therefore any penalty applied to anyone in the kingdom is the result of his acts and an offense that is punishable by law and that levels of litigation are met and all guarantees are provided for a fair, open and transparent trial that is open to the public, including representatives of the missions of the above mentioned countries.

Trad said that not under any circumstances, privileges or immunities can be granted to a class of people without others under any name or any capacity. All are equal before the judiciary, he stated.

He indicated that the death penalty is provided for by the laws of the kingdom and that there are dozens of countries around the world that still apply the death penalty for the most serious crimes, such as terrorism and drug trafficking.

He stressed the strong rejection of the kingdom for any statement by any country against the independent and fair judiciary in the Kingdom and its demand for everyone to respect the judiciary and its rulings, and not interfere with it in any way. 

He also demanded that these countries verify their sources of information before directing any criticism against the kingdom where there is no respect for the cultural and religious special nature of a country that represents the heart of the Islamic world, and asked them to refrain from double standards and trying to exploit the Human Rights Council for political purposes or to accomplish electoral achievements and to address real human rights violations without any political, cultural or ideological motives.

Source: Saudi Press Agency, March 17, 2016

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