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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…

In a first, drug dealer gets death penalty in West Bengal

Kolkata street
Kolkata street
Almost 14 years after he was arrested, a Barasat court has ordered Karaya resident Anwar Rehman - who was found guilty of supplying heroin in Kolkata and was arrested with over 53.5 kg of it- to be hanged till death. 

For the 1st time a court in Bengal has awarded death sentence in a NDPS case.

Rehman was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) of India. Anirban Das, the sixth additional district session judge gave death sentence to Anshar Rahaman (62) and sentenced his accomplice Dipak Giri (47) to 30 years of rigorous imprisonment.

NCB officials explained that a death penalty is usually awarded in rarest of circumstances - gene rally when the quantity recovered is huge and the accused is a repeat offender. In 2002, the cost of the confiscated drug was estimated to over Rs 53.5 crore.

Officials in the NCB said that their charge sheet carried enough evidence that prove Rehman had links with some "influential people" in the city. His supplies would come from Pakistan through Rajasthan. While carrying out the probe, the NCB officials got in touch with narcotic officials in Bangladesh, Nepal, Australia some other countries.

Officials said that Rehman had once gone to Switzerland in early 2002 and stayed there for 6 months. "He claimed that he had gone on a holiday with his son but had no evidence to suggest that he had he met drug dealers there,''explained an officer.

Rehman had reportedly invested Rs 1.5 crore to procure the heroin that was seized by the sleuths. 

NCB officers said Rehman had paid the money to his Rajasthan contacts in mid-September in 2002. "We are trying to find out how he got so much money to invest," the NCB director said.

Source: The Times of India, April 8, 2016

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