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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…

Indonesia: Kontras Urges Government to Review Death Penalty

Nusa Kambangan Island, where executions by firing squad are carried out.
Nusa Kambangan Island, where executions by firing squad are carried out.
The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has urged the government to review the implementation of death penalty in Indonesia.

Putri Karnesia, head of political civil rights division at Kontras, said that a number of death penalties were issued without proper legal procedures.

One of the cases being handled by Kontras is death penalties against Yusman Telaumbanua and Rasula Hia issued by the Gunungsitoli District Court, Nias, North Sumatra.

Based on Kontras' findings, Yusman was a minor when he was involved in a murder case back in 2012.

"We are concerned that the next execution could be a bad move," Putri said in Jakarta on Saturday, July 23, 2016.

Yusman and Rusula are death-row convicts waiting for their execution for being involved in a premeditated murder against Kolimarinus Zega, Jimmi Trio Girsang and Rugun Br. Haloho.

Putri viewed that Yusman's case could be a momentum for the government to evaluate the implementation of death penalty, since the legal process in Indonesian courts are not ideal yet.

Another Kontras activist Arif Nur Fikri viewed that the country's justice system is still vulnerable when it comes to death penalty. Arief added that Kontras has filed a judicial review against the verdict for Yusman.

Source: tempo.co, July 24, 2016


Human Rights Group Urges Gov`t to Cancel 3rd Wave of Executions

Zulfikar Ali (Pakistan) has been moved from Cilacap's
Hospital to Batu Prison on Nusa Kambangan Island.
Human rights group named Imparsial has called on the government to cancel the third wave of executions. Imparsial director Al Araf said that there was no relevance between the implementation of death penalty and the declining number of crimes in Indonesia.

"Drug convicts are given death penalties, but drugs distribution is not declining," Al Araf said in a discussion held at Imparsial's office in Jakarta on Sunday, July 24, 2016.

According to Al Araf, the number of drug-related crimes has increased after the 1st wave of executions was conducted in 2015, based on data from the National Narcotics Agency (BNN). 

Al Araf argued that fair law enforcement, rather than the level of punishment, would cause deterrent effects.

Al Araf viewed that the justice system in Indonesia is not yet ideal as reflected by a drug case involving Pakistani national Zulfiqar Ali. 

Zulfiqar was arrested in 2004 for allegedly possessing 300 grams of heroin. The court imposed a death penalty in June 2005.

Zulfiqar's lawyer Edward Rajagukguk said that his client was ill-treated and forced to admit the crime. Zulfiqar, who could not speak Indonesian and English was not accompanied by a translator during the questioning. 

In addition Zulfiqar's wife admitted that police asked her for money if she wanted her husband to be released.

"This is obviously a justice mafia practice," Al Araf said.

Al Araf also called on the government to evaluate and review cases involving death row convicts to ensure that the legal process had been conducted properly. 

He also asked the government to issue a moratorium for executions and remove death penalty.

Source: tempo.co, July 24, 2016


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