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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…

Govt to submit appeal for Indonesian on death row in Malaysia

The Foreign Ministry will submit an appeal to the Penang High Court in Malaysia regarding Indonesian migrant worker Rita Krisdianti, who was sentenced to the death penalty on Monday for her alleged involvement in drug smuggling.

Taufiq Rodhi, general consul at the Indonesian Consulate General in Penang, said Indonesian officials had instructed an attorney from law firm Goi & Azzura to submit an appeal as the ruling was still at the 1st level of the court system.

"Through the Foreign Ministry, we will keep coordinating with all stakeholders who can help us to provide evidence that could lessen [the punishment]," Taufiq said in a statement.

The opportunity remained, therefore, for further defense from the Indonesian side, he added.

The ministry said it had also cooperated and coordinated with the Indonesian Consulate General in Hong Kong, the country where Rita worked from January to April 2013, as well as the local administration of Ponorogo regency, East Java, where Rita is registered as a resident.

It was also coordinating closely with Rita's family, who attended the hearing with the Consulate General in Penang, Taufiq said.

Indonesian NGOs such as Migrant Care have been given permission to monitor the development of the case, which held its 21st hearing on Monday.

Separately, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir asserted that officials would keep pushing and monitoring the appeal process. He gave his assurances that the legal process was still ongoing.

Rita has been sentenced to the death penalty under section 39B of Malaysia's 1952 Dangerous Drugs Act, following her arrest on July 10, 2013, when Malaysian authorities at Penang's Bayan Lepas Airport found over 4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine in her bag.

She claimed she did not know about the meth, saying the bag belonged to a fellow Indonesian who had managed her travel arrangements from Hong Kong to Penang, via Bangkok and New Delhi.

According to the Foreign Ministry, there are currently 154 Indonesian convicts on death row in Malaysia, with 102 citizens - 66 % - involved in drug cases.

The ministry has coordinated closely with the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) to assist the Indonesians by providing information to those who are allegedly victims of drug smuggling.

Workers in Indonesia have begun to show their solidarity with Rita by changing their display pictures on Facebook. The hashtag #SaveRitaKrisdianti has also been widely used. Demonstrations have taken place outside the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta, demanding the release of Rita and safety for other Indonesian migrant workers facing the death penalty.

Source: Jakarta Post, May 30, 2016

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