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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…

Amnesty: Iran regime executed nearly 1000 people in 2015

Public execution in Iran
Public execution in Iran
Iran's regime executed close to a thousand people, including juvenile offenders, in 2015 and largely fueled the "dramatic global rise" in the number of executions recorded last year which saw more people put to death than at any point in the last quarter-century, Amnesty International said in a report on Wednesday.

"Iran put at least 977 people to death in 2015, compared to at least 743 the year before," Amnesty International wrote in its annual Death penalty 2015 report.

"Iran is also one of the world's last executioners of juvenile offenders, in flagrant breach of international law," the report said. The Iranian regime put to death at least four people who were under 18 at the time of the crime for which they were convicted in 2015, the human rights group said.

"Iran alone accounted for 82% of all executions recorded" in the Middle East and North Africa, Amnesty said, adding that the regime continued to sentence people to death for crimes - including drug trafficking, corruption, "adultery" and "blasphemy."

According to Amnesty's figures, the Iranian regime was responsible last year for nearly 60 % of all executions in the world with the exception of those in China.

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's Secretary General, said that the Iranian regime put people to death at "unprecedented levels, often after grossly unfair trials."

"This slaughter must end," he said.

Source: NCR-Iran, April 6, 2016

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