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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: Two hanged in Qazvin prison

Iran's fundamentalist regime has hanged a man and a woman in a prison in Qazvin, north-west of Tehran.

The woman was not named, but the office of the regime's prosecutor-general in Qazvin Province said that she had been imprisoned since 2014.

The regime's local deputy prosecutor was present to oversee the execution, the state-run Borna news agency reported on Thursday.

The man was identified only as Amir Q., the official state broadcaster IRIB said in its website for Qazvin Province. He was arrested on May 30, 2011.

The latest hangings bring to at least 120 the number of people executed in Iran since April 10. Three 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 3, 2016

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