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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…

Pakistan hangs 2 brothers for murdering 6 people

The execution comes just days after Amnesty International called out Pakistan for being the world's 3rd most prolific executioner

Pakistan on Saturday, April 9, hanged two brothers convicted of murdering 6 people from the same family, just days after Amnesty International criticized the country for becoming the world's 3rd most prolific executioner after China and Iran.

Nasir Mehmood and Tahir Iqbal were hanged in a jail in the eastern Pakistani city of Sialkot early Saturday for the 2002 murders, senior prison official Chaudhry Arshad Saeed Arain told AFP.

The hanged men killed 6 members of a family over a land dispute, jail officials said. No further details were available.

A 6-year moratorium on the death penalty was lifted in Pakistan after Taliban attackers gunned down more than 150 people, most of them children, at an army-run school in Peshawar in December 2014.

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

Executions in the Muslim-majority nation have helped fuel an increase worldwide, Amnesty International said in a report this week, with at least 1,634 people put to death globally in 2015, the highest figure recorded since 1989.

"Over the past year, Pakistan has vaulted to the number 3 spot for recorded state executions in the world - a shameful position no one should aspire to," Champa Patel, director of Amnesty's South Asia office, told AFP.

Pakistan executed 326 people last year, Patel said.

The overwhelming majority of those hanged since Pakistan fully restored the death penalty in March 2015 had no links to terrorism, said Sarah Belal, director of the Justice Project Pakistan, which advocates the abolition of hanging and represents death row convicts.

Source: rappler.com, April 8, 2016

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