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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…

Turkey's President Erdogan refuses to rule out death penalty

Military coup in Turkey
Turkey's President has refused to rule out the death penalty for the thousands of people arrested following a violent failed military coup Friday.

"There is a clear crime of treason and your request can never be rejected by our government," said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking through his translator in a world exclusive interview with CNN's Becky Anderson at his presidential palace in Istanbul, Turkey.

"But of course it will take a parliamentary decision for that to take action in the form of a constitutional measure so leaders will have to get together and discuss it and if they accept to discuss it then I as president will approve any decision that comes out of the parliament."

This is the 1st interview given by the president since the attempted military coup on Friday, July 15.

If Turkey does reintroduce the death penalty, it won't be joining the European Union, according to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini earlier Monday.

Commenting on people's calls for the death penalty for coup plotters, Erdogan said: "'Why should I keep them and feed them in prisons, for years to come?' -- that's what the people say."

"They want a swift end to it, because people lost relatives, lost neighbors, lost children... they're suffering so the people are very sensitive and we have to act very sensibly and sensitively," he added.

The comments come in the wake of Friday's failed military coup and the president's vow over the weekend that those responsible "will pay a heavy price for this act of treason."

A total of 8,777 officers from the Turkish Ministry of Interior have so far been removed from office, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Among the arrested are 103 generals and admirals -- 1/3 of the general-rank command of the Turkish military.

A formal written request for the extradition of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is in self-imposed exile in the United States, will be submitted within days, Erdogan told Anderson.

When asked what he would do if the U.S. refused to extradite Gulen, he said "we have a mutual agreement of extradition of criminals."

"So now you ask someone to be extradited, you're my strategic partner I do obey, I do abide by that, but you don't do the same thing -- well, of course, there should be reciprocity in the types of things," the president continued.

Erdogan has previously blamed Gulen for the attempted coup -- a claim which Gulen has denied.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. hadn't yet received a formal request from Turkey for Gulen's extradition.

Source: CNN, July 18, 2016


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