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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…

Iraqi PM orders immediate execution of convicted terrorists

Iraq bombings
The Prime Minister of Iraq Haider Jawad Kadhim Al-Abadi ordered on Monday to execute immediately all terrorists on death row in the country. 

The instructions were submitted to the Ministry of Justice after deadly attacks in Baghdad on Sunday, which killed 165 and wounded 225.

A lorry packed with explosives was detonated in a busy shopping district of the capital of Iraq where locals were shopping for the holiday marking the end of Ramadan. 

The second bomb exploded at an outdoor market in the Shaab, neighbourhood of southeastern Baghdad. So-called Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks, which believed to be the deadliest in Iraq since 2007. 

Prime Minister al-Abadi condemned the bombing and declared three days of mourning across the country after visiting the scene of the attack.

Despite territorial gains by Iraq’s ground forces against ISIS and loosing by the latter one of 45 percent of the territory it once held in Iraq, the terrorist group is still able to launch attacks.

Agence France-Presse reports that 5 death-row inmates were executed on Monday, quoting a Ministry of Justice spokesman.

Sources: New Europe, Agence France-Presse, July 5, 2016


Iraq executes 5 after devastating Baghdad blast: ministry

Iraq executed 5 convicts on Monday, the justice ministry said, linking the timing of the executions to the Baghdad suicide bombing the previous day that killed more than 200 people.

The ministry said it wanted families bereaved in the bombing to know "that their brothers in the justice ministry are continuing to deliver just punishment to those whose hands are stained with the blood of Iraqis".

"Therefore, we would like to announce the implementation of death sentences against 5 convicts this morning," it said in a statement, without specifying their crimes.

The ministry also offered its condolences to families of victims of Sunday's carnage in Baghdad.

A suicide bombing claimed by the ISIS terrorist group ripped through a crowded shopping area, killing more than 200 people in one of the deadliest ever attacks by terrorists in Iraq.

Jordan responded in a similar way last year, executing 2 extremist prisoners after ISIS had burned alive one of its pilots whose plane was downed over Syria.

The move drew fire from rights group Amnesty International, which said executions should not be used "as a tool for revenge".

ISIS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but has since lost signficant ground to Iraqi forces.

Experts have warned that the terrorist group may step up bombings targeting civilians as it suffers setbacks on the battlefield.

Source: Decan Chronicle, July 5, 2016

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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning