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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…

21 Malaysian 'drug mules' face death penalty in Thai court

Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand
The 21 Malaysians arrested in Thailand recently on suspicion of being 'drug mules' could face the death penalty under the country's Narcotics Act for possession and sale of Category 1 Substances.

"The suspects can face the death penalty following the large seizure of methamphetamine ('ice') and heroin from them. The police, on their part, have obtained strong evidence against them.

"However, despite the possibility of facing the maximum sentence of death under the stipulated charge, Thai courts seldom hand down the death penalty and prefer the long-term jail sentence, instead," he told Bernama on Sunday.

On March 23 and 24, the Malaysians, in 2 groups of 15 and 6 men were arrested by Thai Railway police at 4 different train stations and in a passenger van.

Seized from them were 226kg of methamphetamine and 8kg of heroin kept in backpacks.

The train they were travelling in was enroute to Butterworth from Hualamphong, Bangkok.

Thai police have described the drug haul as one of the largest confiscated in recent times, which could fetch about RM400mil in Europe.

The Thai police officer also divulged that based on information obtained, there was a link between the Malaysian suspects and a major drug trafficker whose nationality he declined to divulge.

In an interview with Bernama previously, Police Col Puttidej Bunkrapue from the Thai Railway Police said investigations revealed the drug smuggling attempt by the 21 Malaysian suspects was masterminded by 3 men.

The 21 Malaysians are currently under remand at Bangkok's Central Correctional Institution for Drug Addicts.

Source: Bernama, May 8, 2016

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