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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…

Indonesia: Human Rights Watchdog Calls for End to Capital Punishment

Indonesia's Special Police Force
Indonesia's Special Police Force
As preparations for the third round of executions continue on Nusakambangan Island near Cilacap, Central Java, human rights activists and legal academics have criticized Indonesia's continued use of capital punishment.

Respublica Political Institute executive director Benny Sabdo said the death penalty is a violation of human rights, inhumane and ineffective as a form of punishment.

"The death sentence still applies in the United States, but violent crime rates are still high there. Meanwhile in Canada, where capital punishment has been abolished, crime rates have receded," the law professor said on Wednesday (18/05).

Benny believes capital punishment equals man playing God.

"Punishments for crime should not violate basic human rights, and should not degrade human dignity in any way," said the professor, who also believes that the death penalty does not serve as a deterrent to crime.

According to Amnesty International, Indonesia is 1 of 37 United Nations member states that continue to use the death penalty in law and practice, while 102 have completely abolished it for all crimes.

The University of Indonesia constitutional law alumni emphasized that death row inmates are not objects and therefore still entitled to basic human rights. He added that Indonesia must be consistent in enforcing human rights for all.

Besides Indonesians, citizens of China, Nigeria and Zimbabwe are expected to be on the list of inmates facing the firing squad in the third round of executions.

Source: Jakarta Globe, May 18, 2016

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