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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: 7 prisoners hanged in Mashhad, Shiraz and Tehran

The clerical regime's news agencies reported that 7 prisoners were executed in the past 3 days in Mashhad, Shiraz and Tehran.

The state-run Rokna website wrote on Tuesday, June 7, that 3 men, aged 30, 35 and 40, who had been sentenced by the so-called Revolutionary Court in Mashhad, north-east Iran, were hanged on Monday in the central prison of Mashhad.

Fars News Agency, which is affiliated with the Iranian regime's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), reported on Monday that 2 Afghan citizens were hanged in a prison in Tehran. It did not give the names of the victims. The agency wrote that at the time of the execution, the regime's prosecutor in Pardis and the chief of the city's repressive police force were present.

The clerical regime's official news agency, IRNA, announced on Sunday, June 5, that 2 prisoners were hanged in public in Shiraz, southern Iran. The 2 prisoners were identified as 22-year-old Amin D., and 28-year-old Mojtaba G. They were executed simultaneously in Shiraz.

The latest hangings bring to at least 127 the number of people executed in Iran since April 10. 3 of those executed were women and 2 are believed to have been juvenile offenders.

Ms. Farideh Karimi, a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and a human rights activist, last month called for an urgent response by the United Nations and foreign governments to the recent spate of executions and the appalling state of human rights in Iran.

Iran's fundamentalist regime last month amputated the fingers of a man in his 30s in Mashhad, the latest in a line of draconian punishments handed down and carried out in recent weeks.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said in a statement on April 13 that the increasing trend of executions "aimed at intensifying the climate of terror to rein in expanding protests by various strata of the society, especially at a time of visits by high-ranking European officials, demonstrates that the claim of moderation is nothing but an illusion for this medieval regime."

Amnesty International in its April 6 annual Death Penalty report covering the 2015 period wrote: "Iran put at least 977 people to death in 2015, compared to at least 743 the year before."

"Iran alone accounted for 82% of all executions recorded" in the Middle East and North Africa, the human rights group said.

There have been more than 2,400 executions during Hassan Rouhani's tenure as President. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran in March announced that the number of executions in Iran in 2015 was greater than any year in the last 25 years. Rouhani has explicitly endorsed the executions as examples of "God's commandments" and "laws of the parliament that belong to the people.

Source: NCR-Iran, June 8, 2016

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