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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…

ISIS executes 5 media activists in Syria

ISIS members (file photo)
ISIS members (file photo)
The Islamic State murdered 5 Syrian media activists as it continues its assault on the press, maintaining tight control of the message that comes out of regions under the terrorist group's control.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has viewed a video released by ISIS in Deir Ezzor, in eastern Syria. The video shows the execution of five media activists via 5 different, sadistic methods.

The militants also issued a warning that any journalists or media activists opposed to the group and working to reveal their crimes are not safe, even outside of Syria. They cite the killing of Mohammed Zaher al-Shirqat.

Shirqat worked for Halab Today TV, an independent satellite channel from Aleppo. He was shot in the neck at close range on the street in the Turkish city of Gaziantep in early April. He had previously received death threats from ISIS, who claimed responsibility for his murder.

The United States condemned the killing. "Freedom of the press, including ensuring that journalists can safely report on the crisis in Syria, remains critical as reporters keep working to expose the truth about this brutal conflict and Daesh's atrocities," reads a statement issued by John Kirby, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson for the US state department. "[W]e stand ready to support Turkey as it works to bring to justice those responsible for attacks on the media."

The 5 media activists killed in Deir Ezzor were executed on charges of "acting against the Islamic State, communicating with outside parties and receiving funds, and other charges," reported the Observatory on Sunday.

The Islamic State has murdered at least 3 other journalists in Turkey. The media advocacy group Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders) has urged Turkey to "take whatever measures are necessary to guarantee the security of Syrian exile journalists."

Source: rudaw.net, June 26, 2016

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