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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…

Iran: 23 executions in 2 days

Public hanging in Iran
Iranian Resistance calls for saving the lives of 10 young prisoners facing the gallows

At a time when 23 prisoners were executed on May 17 and 18 in the prisons of Urumieh, Tabriz, Yazd, Yasouj, Sari and Mashhad across Iran, another 10 young prisoners between the ages of 21 and 25 are currently facing imminent execution. 

On Saturday, May 21, these inmates were transferred from various wards, including the youths’ ward, in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj (west of Tehran) to solitary confinement in the quarantine ward of this facility, specifically allocated for prisoners before being sent to the gallows. 

The Iranian Resistance calls on the international community and especially human rights organizations to take urgent action aimed at preventing these vicious executions. The goal of the mullahs’ regime in Iran, already engulfed in crises, in increasing the horrendous use of executions is to cement a climate of fear in society to rein in increasing social protests.

Yasouj public prosecutor Mehrdad Karimi said that these executions “will teach a lesson for others in the society, and the judiciary will take action with the utmost severity and full jurisdiction.”

“There is no longer any time for counseling and this is a black month for hooligans and thugs; a new trend has been launched in the judiciary system… in the next few days several hooligans and thugs will be executed,” said Isfahan Province police chief Abdulreza Agha-Khani while launching the oppressive “Social Security” plan from May 21 and announcing the arrest of seven individuals described as ‘hooligans and thugs.’

“In implementing the plan to improve security, the struggle against hooligans and thugs is priority number one, and actions will be taken against drug distributors, people harassing women, raucousness regarding vice and hijab regulations, violating luxurious halls and restaurants, dog runners and vehicles with +20% tinted windows,” he added. (State-run Tasnim news agency – May 21, 2016).


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