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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…

Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam released from death row in Libya

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in court in Zintan
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in court in Zintan.
Muammar Gaddafi's British-educated son was released from death row in Libya earlier this year and now appears to be at large even though he faces charges at the International Criminal Court. (ICC)

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the ousted dictator's most prominent son, was sentenced to die by firing squad last year and was thought to be in prison in the western city of Zintan.

It has now emerged he was in fact released from in April and his whereabouts are unknown.

A document apparently from Libya’s temporary ministry of justice ordered his release under an amnesty law following appeals by elders from the Gaddafi tribe.

Gaddafi’s British lawyer, Karim Khan, told France 24 that his client was freed on April 12 and “is well and safe and in Libya”.

News of his release may stir tensions in Libya, especially as he was let go by militias in Zintan, a province that is already at odds with the other leading elements of Libya’s UN-backed unity government.

The 44-year-old was the most western-oriented of Col Gaddafi's eight children and well known in British society.

He studied at the London School of Economics and received a PhD - part of which he was subsequently accused of plagiarising.

Some Western diplomats hoped he would eventually replace his dictator father and lead Libya to economic and political reforms.

But when the Libyan uprising began in 2011 he sided with his father’s regime and vowed to crush the revolt.

He was captured in November 2011, just a few weeks after the elder Gaddafi was killed, and later charged in a Libyan court with war crimes.

The sentence of death handed down by a Tripoli court last year was widely criticised by the UN and human rights groups who said that Gaddafi had not been given a fair trial.

He is still wanted by the ICC to face charges for his role during the Libyan uprising. International prosecutors allege he was responsible for crimes against humanity and murder during the 2011 conflict.

Source: The Telegraph, Ralf Sanchez, July 7, 2016

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