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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…

UN human rights body condemns floggings in Iran

Public flogging in Iran: Barbaric and medieval punishments
Public flogging in Iran: Barbaric and medieval punishments
NCRI - The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned on Tuesday the "outrageous flogging" of dozens of young Iranians last week in Qazvin, north-west of Tehran.

"We condemn the outrageous flogging of up to 35 young men and women in Iran last week, after they were caught holding a graduation party together in Qazvin, north of Tehran," said a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

"Flogging is prohibited under international human rights law, in particular the Convention against Torture. The UN Committee against Torture, the Human Rights Committee and UN Special Rapporteurs have repeatedly voiced serious concerns about States’ use of flogging, highlighting in particular its use against women, and have called for its abolition. For the authorities to have meted out this cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment – which could amount to torture – is completely disproportionate and abhorrent," it said.

Ismaeil Sadeqi Niaraki, a notorious mullah who is the regime's Prosecutor in Qazvin, said last Thursday that a special court session was held after all the young men and women at the party were rounded up.

"After we received information that a large number of men and women were mingling in a villa in the suburbs of Qazvin ... all the participants at the party were arrested," he said.

Niaraki added that the following morning every one of those detained received 99 lashes as punishment by the so-called 'Morality Police.'

"Thanks God that the police questioning, investigation, court hearing, verdict and implementation of the punishment all took place in less than 24 hours," Niaraki added.

The Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said: "In another case, 17 mine workers were reportedly flogged in Western Azerbaijan province in Iran this month for protesting the dismissal of 350 workers from the Agh Dara gold mine."

"Last month, a woman was publicly flogged for having sexual relations outside marriage," the statement pointed out.

"While we do not have a reliable estimate on the use of flogging in the country, reports suggest that it is used regularly for a wide range of perceived offences."

"We urge the Iranian authorities to cease the use of this cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment," the UN human rights body added.

Source: NCRI, May 31, 2016


29 young men and women detained in Iran for attending a party

A brutal and medieval theocracy: Public flogging in Iran
A brutal and medieval theocracy: Public flogging in Iran
NCRI – More than two dozen young Iranian men and women were arrested over the weekend by the mullahs' regime for participating in a mixed-gender party in Mashhad, north-east Iran.

The 29 youngsters were rounded up by the regime's police at a party on Saturday evening, May 28, at a villa near the Danesh Junction in Mashhad.

The state-run Rokna news agency said on Monday, May 30, that altogether 15 young men and 14 young women were arrested at the party and were taken to the regime's court in District 6 of Mashhad on Sunday to face prosecution.

Some 35 young men and women were flogged last week for taking part in a mixed-gender party after their graduation ceremony near Qazvin, some 140 kilometers northwest of the Iranian capital Tehran, the regime's Prosecutor in the city said last Thursday, May 26.

Ismaeil Sadeqi Niaraki, a notorious mullah, said a special court session was held after all the young men and women at the party were rounded up, the Mizan news agency, affiliated to the fundamentalist regime's judiciary, reported on May 26.

"After we received information that a large number of men and women were mingling in a villa in the suburbs of Qazvin ... all the participants at the party were arrested," he said.

Niaraki added that the following morning every one of those detained received 99 lashes as punishment by the so-called 'Morality Police.'

According to Niaraki, given the social significance of mixed-gender partying, "this once again required a firm response by the judiciary in quickly reviewing and implementing the law."

"Thanks God that the police questioning, investigation, court hearing, verdict and implementation of the punishment all took place in less than 24 hours," Niaraki added.

The regime’s prosecutor claimed that the judiciary would not tolerate the actions of “law-breakers who use excuses such as freedom and having fun in birthday parties and graduation ceremonies.”

He warned the youths that they should be careful about their conduct “since being arrested in mixed-gender parties and receiving sentences is a crime and would create problems for their future education and employment.”

Shahin Gobadi of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) on Thursday said that such barbaric acts prove that "moderation" during Hassan Rouhani’s Presidency is "nothing but a myth."

"Three years after Rouhani’s Presidency the human rights situation in Iran is deteriorating in every aspect. This also shows the regime’s fragile state and total isolation among the Iranian people, in particular among the youths. The notion advocated by some in the West that this regime has a future is totally naive,” he said.

Earlier this month, the Iranian regime’s paramilitary Basij in north-eastern Iran broke up two mixed-gender parties within 72 hours, detaining 70 people.

The head of the fundamentalist Basij in Nishapur precinct, Ali-Akbar Hosseini, announced that his forces were alerted to a so-called “obscene party” in the city. During the raid, 14 boys and 14 girls were arrested and transferred to a local police station.

A second party was raided on May 20, leading to the arrest of over 40 participants, Hosseini told the state-run Fars news agency on May 21.

Source: NCRI, May 30, 2016

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