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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…

Bangladesh war crimes: 3 get death penalty, 5 jailed for life

The verdict came as the prosecution accused all the 8 of 5 charges relating to crimes like mass murders, abductions, tortures and looting.

3 Islamists were handed down death penalty while 5 others jailed until death by a special tribunal in Bangladesh for committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 liberation war with Pakistan.

A 3-member panel of judges of Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal (ICT-BD) led by Justice Anwarul Haque pronounced the judgement as 2 of the convicts appeared on the dock while 6 others were tried in absentia as they were on the run to evade justice.

The verdict came as the prosecution accused all the eight of five charges relating to crimes like mass murders, abductions, tortures and lootings.

Prosecution lawyers said 6 of the convicts were members of infamous Al-badr auxiliary force of the Pakistani troops during the war and carried out atrocities in northern Jamalpur district.

The 2 others belonged to Razakar, another Bengali-manned armed group raised by Pakistanis during the war.

Manned by activists of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, which was opposed to Bangladesh's 1971 independence from Pakistan, the Al-Badr appeared as an extremely notorious force by carrying out ruthless atrocities siding with Pakistani troops.

The verdict came amid a nationwide tension following the recent 2 back-to-back Islamist terror attacks in the country following which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina hinted that Jamaat could be behind the assaults.

Bangladesh has so far executed 4 war crimes convicts since the process began to try the top Bengali perpetrators of 1971 atrocities in line with the electoral commitment of Prime Minister Hasina in 2008.

Source: indianexpress.com, July 18, 2016


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