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

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…

Iran: Political prisoners say EU officials’ visits to Iran encourage more executions

NCRI – A group of resilient political prisoners in Iran’s notorious Evin and Gohardasht prisons have written to the Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi pointing out that at least eight prisoners were executed in Iran while he was visiting Tehran earlier in the week to reestablish trade ties with the regime. 

They also warned of a serious risk that other prisoners would be executed in Iran in the coming days since the silence of European officials on the issue of human rights during their visits to Iran only emboldens the regime to step up its abuses.

On Saturday, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini arrived in Tehran along with seven EU commissioners for discussions with the regime’s officials on trade and other areas of cooperation.

The following is the text of the April 13, 2016 letter by a group of political prisoners in Gohardasht (Rajai-Shahr) and Evin prisons to Italian officials after the execution of eight prisoners in Gohardasht Prison, north-west of Tehran:

To the Prime minister of Italy:

We, the most of us, are the inmates that had warned you before about your visit to Iran. In fact, the reason of our warning is not for bringing any political propaganda and atmosphere but to mention that people like you do not value humanity. So your travel to Iran will be the price for our execution. And it is us, our families and our youths who must be sacrificed.

Dear Prime Minister of Italy, have you seen the red carpet of blood that is spread for you today? Have you seen the trembling bodies of our fellow inmates on the gallows? Have you seen the queue of those families who were waiting behind the walls to receive the corpse of their children? Have you heard the bitter sound of weeping and wailing of their children and families who were waiting for the ambulance filled with the corpse of their loved ones.

Of course…of course you have not seen or heard any of them. Those who have kept you in the waiting queue to sign the commercial treaties; they have also kept our families waiting for the execution of their children. They use your big posters and pictures to cover up the gallows of execution!

It is good for you to know that through your trip to Iran, the stream of new executions will resume again even though they had been stopped for a while because of international pressures. By traveling to Iran, you are to a large extent giving political legitimacy and authority to these criminal and murderous executions. At this moment we have just heard about the execution of nine people. By coming to Iran, you have definitely given them the political legitimacy and authority for further such executions.

We, the inmates of Gohardasht (Rajai Shahr) prison, will file a complaint and send it to the people, political parties and all human rights organizations in Italy against your travel to Iran, because your travel to Iran is contrary to all humanitarian and philanthropic principals.

Finally, for your information, we will write the names of some executed prisoners who were sacrificed to give you their welcomes. We will also attach the name of other inmates of this prison (Rajai Shahr) who are waiting in the queue to be executed, because without any acceptance from the political authorities like you, the prisoners cannot easily be executed by them. Please excuse us for the bitter criticism and directness because the lives of human beings and the forthcoming crimes do not leave us any political consideration.

Here are the names of some of those who have just been executed today: Ebad Mohammadi, Hossein Moiinfar, Hamzeh Dowlatabadi,Mehdi Haqshenas…

Also, the following names are of only some of those people who are on the waiting list to be executed. The number of names listed below is trivial in comparison to the full number of names of this category:

First name, last name. Father's name
Nima Esmaiilian. Karim
Afshin Hashemi. Hossein
Ahmad Qasemi. Gholam-Ali
Mohammad Zarei. Esmaeili
Amir Khalilpour. Mirza
Reza Pourabbasyan. Hossein
Akbar Beyrami. Ali
Hossein Hassani. Hasan
Akbar Dehghan. Ayyaz
Mohammad Azizi. Mosayeb
Fariborz Jalali. Mohyeddin
Mohammad Khedmati. Issa
Issa Ebrahimi. Ebrahim
Bagher Basiri. Koochak
Fethullah Bakhtiari. Ali Akbar
Alireza Gharbali. Hossein
Saeed Eskandari. Jamshid
Esrafil Mohammadi. Qayum
Faramarz Fakhraei. Ali Asghar
Barat-Ali Rahimi. Muhammad Ali
Hossein Moiinifar. Ali Asghar
Azad Ardukhany. Sekhavat
Ali kavandi pour. Moosa
Alireza Afshar. Safar-Ali
Javad. Seifi
Khaled Mohammadian. Saleh
Mahmood. Khan Mohammadi
Hamid Shirkhani. Mansour
Ghorban Ali Heidari. Fathollah
Jabbar Mollah Hashemi. Asadollah
Saadi Babakhanyan. Javanmeer
Morteza Shafeghati. Ali
Mehrdad Saeb-ol-Afshar. Abdullah
Hassan Kandy. Fethullah
Sohrab Sanamy. Rahim
Kazem Khadem-e-Rezaeaian. Rahim
Mohsen Kazemi Abdi
Farma Salehi Abdollah
Hamzeh Dowlatabady
Mahdi Haghshenas
Koorosh Chakery. Zabihollah
Hossein Sadegh Kasmaee

The signatories of this letter:

1. Abol-Qasem Fooladvand 2. Khaled Hardani 3. Farhang Pour-Mansouri 4. Rasool Hardani 5. Reza Akbari Monfared 6. Pirooz Mansouri 7. Shahram Pourmansouri 8. Shahin Zoghitabar 9. Hassan Sadeghi 10. Saied Masouri 11. Saleh Kohandel 12. Ali Moezzi 13. Alireza Golipoor 14. Masood Arabchoobdar 15. Amir Doorbani Ghaziani 16. Saeed Shirzad 17. Farid Azmoudeh 18. Behzad Tarahomi 19. Iraj Hatami … etc. and the names of those political prisoners reserved for security reasons.

UN Human Rights Council and Special Rapporteur
European Parliament
European Union
Liberal Democrat Party of Italy
The Five-Star Movement
Progressive Party of Italy
Social-Democratic Party of Italy
Radical Party of Italy
Labor party of Italy
Communist Party of Italy
The Center-Right Party
"Hands Off Cain" association

Source: NCRI, April 16, 2016

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