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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…

Bangladesh: Nizami's review plea hearing defers till May 3

The Bangladesh Supreme Court
The Bangladesh Supreme Court
The Supreme Court today deferred till May 3 the hearing on the review petition filed by condemned war criminal Motiur Rahman Nizami.

The four-member bench of Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the deferment order following a time petition moved by Nizami's lawyer Khandaker Mahbub Hossain.

He prayed to the court to shift the date for hearing citing his personal difficulties.

On March 29, Nizami filed the petition praying to the apex court to acquit him of all the charges on which he was found guilty and awarded death penalty.

Nizami mentioned 46 grounds in the 70-page petition.

On October 29, 2014, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 handed down the death penalty to Nizami on four charges of war crimes, including murdering intellectuals during the Liberation War in 1971. 

The 71-year-old was also awarded life imprisonment on the four other charges.

The SC on January 6 this year upheld his death sentence on three charges and life term imprisonment on 2 other charges.

On March 15, the apex court released the full verdict. The ICT issued death warrant for him hours after the SC had released its full verdict.

The following day, the jail authorities read out the judgment before the convict.

Source: The Daily Star, April 10, 2015

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