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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…

Internal investigation found Pakistani facing execution in Indonesia is innocent

"The report found Zulfiqar Ali was a victim of conspiracy and was innocent"
"The report found Zulfiqar Ali was a victim of conspiracy and was innocent"
Cilacap: Fears that innocent people will be killed in Indonesia's looming executions are intensifying, with a former senior government official revealing an internal investigation he conducted into a condemned Pakistani man suggested he was innocent.

The former director-general of human rights in the Ministry of Law, Hafid Abbas, said an investigation he had conducted more than a decade ago was never acted upon by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

"The report found Zulfiqar Ali was a victim of conspiracy and was innocent," Dr Hafid told Fairfax Media.

Fourteen death row prisoners from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, India and Indonesia were on Tuesday told they had 72 hours to live.

Pakistani textile worker Zulfiqar Ali was sentenced to death in 2005 for possessing 300 grams of heroin.

However his case was among those Dr Hafid was tasked with investigating after a World Bank report raised concerns about the rule of law in Indonesia.

Dr Hafid said that after a comprehensive internal investigation, which included visiting Pakistan, he told the former president he believed Mr Ali was innocent and his case should be reviewed.

However the report was never acted on and Dr Hafid said he was worried that Mr Ali was now facing execution: "The death penalty is the point of no return when you kill an innocent person".

Dr Hafid said he was available at any time to brief Mr Joko on the report, in the hope that Mr Ali's execution might be postponed.

Human rights monitor Imparsial is also pleading with Mr Joko to remove Mr Ali from the execution list.

They said he had been tortured by investigators after he refused to pay a bribe and was sentenced to death even though he had never been caught with drugs in his possession.

Mr Ali was arrested on the testimony of Indonesian national Gurdip Singh, who was arrested with heroin at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport in 2004.

However Gurdip, who is also facing execution on Friday, later retracted his statement, saying it had been forced by police and Mr Ali was innocent.


Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, Jewel Topsfield, July 28, 2016

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