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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…

A look at Nusakambangan, Indonesia's 'execution island'

Nusakambangan Island in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia
Nusakambangan Island in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia
Nusakambangan Island in Cilacap regency, Central Java, is again in the spotlight following the announcement of the government's plan to carry out the third round of executions of death row convicts on the infamous prison island.

Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo has said that his office would soon conduct executions of drug convicts, following the first and second rounds of executions that took place last year.

However, the government has not yet announced information concerning when and how many convicts will face the firing squad.

What we know for sure is that they will take place on the prison island, the most suitable place for the executions to be carried out, Prasetyo said. The Attorney General's Office and Central Java Police have begun preparing for the executions, which are now "only a matter of choosing the day", Prasetyo has said.

"There has not been any formal order on the executions, but we assure you that we are ready for them anytime," Molyanto, correction division head at the Central Java's Legal and Human Rights Ministry Office told thejakartapost.com recently.

The high-security Nusakambangan Island, known by locals as Pulau Hantu or Ghost Island, had snakes, mainly cobras, spread around it five years ago to deter inmates from trying to escape.

The prison island is 3 kilometers from downtown Cilacap. People who want to visit the island must ride the penitentiary's official Pangayoman boat through Wijaya Pura harbor. However, only select people, that have been screened for security, can access the prison.

There are seven prisons on the 210-square-kilometer island. The prisons are Besi, Batu, Kembang Kuning, Narkotika, Permisan, Pasir Putih and Terbuka, which are up to 5 kilometers apart from each other. All of the island’s 1,250 inmates are serving sentences of more than five years, including 59 death row convicts.

Executions are usually carried out in the island’s Nirbaya Valley.

The first round of executions was conducted in January 2015 with six death row convicts. It was followed by a second round in April 2015 with eight death row convicts that caused tensions between Indonesia and several countries as several foreigners were executed for drug offenses. The convicts included Bali Nine members Australian Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

The infamous prison island also witnessed the executions of the notorious trio of terrorists responsible for the Bali bombings, Imam Samudra, Amrozi and Mukhlas in 2008.

Source: The Jakarta Post, May 6, 2016

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