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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…

'They electrocuted me' says Indonesia's death-row prisoner nearing execution

Michael Titus Igweh
Michael Titus Igweh
A Nigerian man facing imminent execution in Indonesia tearfully told a court that police electrocuted his genitals to force him to confess to possessing heroin.

Michael Titus Igweh is among several prisoners on death row whom lawyers and human rights groups are frantically lobbying to save from the firing squad amid claims they were tortured and their legal cases riddled with corruption, errors and miscarriages of justice.

"I was constantly beaten, and my genitals electrocuted until I was helpless," the clothes importer, who was sentenced to death in 2003 for possessing 5.8 kilograms of heroin, told the Tangerang District Court in May. "In fact, I was threatened to be shot."

Sources have told Fairfax Media the third wave of executions in Indonesia could be held within days. It is understood the Nigerian and Pakistani embassies have now been notified that their nationals are among those to be killed.

Indonesian Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo reiterated on Friday the executions would be "soon" and would include Indonesians and possibly a woman. Mr Prasetyo had earlier said prisoners from Nigeria and Zimbabwe would be among those targeted.

In a further ominous sign the executions could be just days away, prison visits have this week been suspended to the penal island of Nusakambangan, where the prisoners will be strapped to wooden posts and shot in a field.

Fourteen drug offenders were executed in Indonesia last year, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, sparking an international backlash.

However the Indonesian government insists executions are necessary to combat a so-called drugs emergency.

"The public want it to be done soon," Attorney-General Prasetyo said on Friday. "We are getting more informed now and can see how drugs have affected our younger generation. We could just lose a generation."


Source: The Sydney Morning Telegraph, Jewel Topsfield, Amilia Rosa, Karuni Rompies, July 24, 2016


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