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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…

Lindsay Sandiford celebrates her 60th birthday behind bars, holds party for fellow inmates

Lindsay Sandiford's 60th birthday
Lindsay Sandiford's 60th birthday party (via Facebook page)
Lindsay Sandiford held a birthday party for fellow inmates and supporters, but she has been warned she may be fast-tracked for execution.

A British grandmother on death row in Bali for smuggling cocaine has celebrated her 60th birthday after being warned she may be fast-tracked for execution.

Lindsay Sandiford held a party for fellow inmates and supporters as the Indonesia government prepares to send a group of foreign convicts to the firing squad this week.

The Mail on Sunday was given exclusive access to Sandiford’s birthday party at the notorious Kerobokan prison, where the Yorkshire grandmother insisted: ‘I’m not frightened of dying.’

Friends and supporters of Lindsay Sandiford posted photos of the event (above, left) and the following comment on their Facebook page "Justice and Fairness for Lindsay Sandiford":

"We are delighted to let you see some of the pictures from Lindsay's 60th birthday in Bali last weekend.
A warm thank you to the staff and officers of Kerobokan for allowing this moving event to go ahead. Your care and kindness to Lindsay has been remarkable.
Surrounded by a few close friends, Lindsay enjoyed pizza, a specially inscribed blueberry cheesecake from a local bakery, and drinks - but soft drinks only, of course.
It was a wonderful opportunity for some of the prisoners closest to Lindsay to celebrate her milestone birthday. Lindsay was able to see your kind birthday wishes and sends her love and thanks to you all.
A very Happy 60th Birthday Lindsay and may you enjoy many more to come."

Sandiford revealed that she had received a letter from Indonesia’s Attorney General six weeks ago warning her to lodge a final appeal within 30 days.

If she didn’t, it would be seen as acceptance of her sentence and she would be listed for execution.

But following legal advice, Sandiford refused to sign an official form acknowledging she had received the letter, saying: ‘It would be like signing my own death warrant.’

She has been told she is not among the first batch of executions expected shortly after Ramadan ends on Tuesday, but could be included in the next group of prisoners.

Up to 16 prisoners have already been moved to Nusa Kambangan – known as Execution Island – where they will be taken into a jungle clearing and shot.

Sandiford has been on death row since 2012 after admitting trying to smuggle cocaine worth £1.6 million through the holiday island’s airport. She claimed a drugs syndicate had threatened the life of her son if she did not co-operate and helped police with a sting operation.

As she celebrated her birthday last Saturday with pizza, blueberry cheesecake and soft drinks, Sandiford told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I want to make the best of the time I have left.’

She watched video messages from family members in Britain, and her wish as she cut her birthday cake was for a hug from granddaughter Ayla, three. Ayla was born after Sandiford’s arrest and visited her in prison with her parents last October.

Sandiford said: ‘A lot of people don’t get to see their grandchildren as they grow up, so I’m not alone in that.’ After blowing out her candles, Sandiford joked to inmates: ‘Thanks for coming. Your taxis are waiting outside.’

Sources: Mail Online, Justice and Fairness for Lindsay Sandiford, July 3, 2016

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