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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…

Indonesian Worker Sentenced to Death in Malaysia for Drug Smuggling

Malaysian immigration officers find drugs hidden in a passenger's luggage.
Malaysian immigration officers find drugs hidden in a passenger's luggage.
Jakarta. 28-year-old Indonesian worker Rita Krisdianti was sentenced to death by a Malaysian court on Monday (30/05) for smuggling 4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.

Rita, of Ponorogo in East Java, was charged with drug trafficking after immigration officers at Penang Airport apprehended her with the drugs on July 10, 2013, after arriving on a flight from Hong Kong.

The drugs were found in a package hidden in Rita's luggage by immigration officers. Rita at that time claimed she had intended to travel to Thailand by bus from Penang on a business trip for her small clothing company.

During her trials, Rita never admitted to the court that the drugs belonged to her.

The court failed to secure testimonies from two key witnesses, a Thai and an Indian national, before issuing the death penalty.

Nusron Wahid, chairman of the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers Office, or BNP2TKI, said the government will file an appeal to the Penang District Court, expecting that “at least there will be no death penalty for Rita.”

The Golkar Party politician is optimistic Malaysia will not execute an Indonesian citizen to maintain a good relationship with its giant neighbor.

Anis Hidayah, the executive director of advocacy group Migrant Care, said Rita was just another victim of drug syndicates which routinely exploit desperate migrant workers to be their drug mules.

According to Anis' account, Rita received the luggage from an Indian national in New Delhi who asked her to deliver it to another person in Thailand.

Before her arrest, Rita had already been returned by her boss to her agent after working for only three months.

“Migrant Care urges the government to investigate and fight drug syndicates who exploit migrant workers for drug-trafficking,” Anis said.

Source: Jakarta Globe, May 31, 2016

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