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…

Amnesty International Slams Indonesia's Plans to Execute Priosners on Death-Row

Nusakambangan island, Central Java, Indonesia
Nusakambangan island, Central Java, Indonesia
Jakarta. Amnesty International on Wednesday (11/05) slammed Indonesia's plans to execute death-row inmates, following recent reports of inmates being moved to Nusakambangan prison, where prisoners typically await their execution.

The executions are believed to take place this month as Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo has said that preparations ahead of the third round of executions are on track with probably 14 death row inmates on the list, including 10 foreigners. The government has not announced the names of the inmates, although some names have been speculated by the media.

Last Sunday, three local prisoners, Suryanto (53), Agus Hadi (53) and Pudjo Lestari (42), were moved from Tembesi pison in Batam, Riau Islands, to Nusakambangan prison in what appears to be part of preparations for executions.

Amnesty said the three prisoners were sentenced to death in 2007 for being convicted of attempting to smuggle benzodiazepine pills from Malaysia, a drug trafficking offense which does not meet the requisite "most-serious crimes" threshold under international human rights law to warrant the death penalty.

“It is devastating to hear that three more people are facing execution. The death penalty is a cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment that has no place in today’s justice system,” Amnesty International crisis campaigns coordinator Diana Sayed said on Wednesday.

Amnesty, who has campaigned for the abolition of the death penalty for more than four decades in more than 140 countries, called on Indonesian authorities to immediately halt any executions plans.

“The death penalty is always a violation of human rights and can never be condoned under any circumstances. State sanctioned killing only serves to continue the cycle of violence and we know it doesn’t work as a deterrent for further crimes,” she added.

Amnesty also urged Indonesia to establish a moratorium on all executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, a policy previously upheld during Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's administration.

Last year, most of the executed inmates were foreigners, prompting a wave of international condemnation of Indonesia's use of capital punishment as well as diplomatic pressure from many countries.

After the executions, Australia temporarily recalled its ambassador to Indonesia following the execution of Bali Nine duo Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan. The relationship has since been restored.

Source: Jakarta Globe, May 11, 2016

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