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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…

Another Five Convicts Hanged in Pakistan

Murderers executed in Multan, Jhang, Sialkot and Larkana.

Pakistan on Wednesday hanged 4 more prisoners convicted of murder despite international criticism over its surging use of the death penalty.

Amnesty International last week described Pakistan as the world's 3rd most prolific executioner after China and Iran, with 326 hangings last year.

Wednesday's executions took place in Multan, Jhang and Sialkot in Punjab province and in Larkana in Sindh province.

Anwarul Haq was executed in Multan for murdering his brother over a land dispute in 2000, senior prisons official Chaudhry Arshad Saeed Arain told AFP. Ghulam Farooq was hanged in Sialkot prison for murdering 2 women and a man due to a family feud in 1999. 

Muhammad Irfan was hanged in Jhang for killing a woman while robbing her home in 2006, Arain said, adding that 8 more prisoners were likely to be hanged in Punjab on Thursday.

In Larkana, Waris Mir Bahr was hanged for the 1995 murder of a Pakistan International Airlines employee during an attack on an airlines van carrying cash, prison officials said.

Pakistan ended a 6-year moratorium on the death penalty after Taliban attackers gunned down more than 150 people, most of them children, at a school in Peshawar in December 2014. 

Hangings were initially reinstated only for those convicted of terrorism, but later extended to all capital offences.

Source: newsweekpakistan.com, April 15, 2016


Murder convict hanged at Central Prison Haripur

A convict on death row was hanged at Central Prison Haripur Thursday morning while another inmate's was postponed after the complainant forgave him a few hours before his execution.

A prison official told The Express Tribune Imtiaz Ahmed, a resident of Khaki village in Mansehra, had been convicted by a district court for murdering a van driver while attempting to kidnap him in 2005. He was awarded the death penalty.

Subsequently, Ahmed's appeal was turned down by the Peshawar High Court and Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The home department issued a black warrant against him 3 days before his execution. "His mercy petition was rejected by the president last week," the official said. "The last meeting between Ahmed and his family was arranged on Wednesday. He was hanged at 5:30am in the presence of the magistrate, doctor and jail administration officials."

On hold

The execution of another convict was postponed after the complainant decided to forgive him.

The home department issued a black warrant against Muhammad Humayun Jamal, a resident of Mardan, and he was going to be executed on Thursday at Central Prison Haripur. Jamal was awarded capital punishment for murdering his father in 2006. However, his brother, who had filed a complaint against him, decided to forgive him and struck a deal through a district court in Mardan.

The deal was sent to the home department and jail authorities and will be scrutinised. Until then, Jamal's execution has been postponed.

According to officials, there are 114 inmates at the facility who are on death row. The appeals of over 30 of them have been rejected.

Source: The Express Tribune, April 15, 2016

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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning