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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…

Indonesia: Trail of legal violations up to execution of 4 inmates

Indonesian police officers
The 3rd batch of executions during President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration early on Friday saw 4 of the scheduled 14 inmates executed before firing squads and this latest round of killings has sparked criticism of the government over its negligence in conforming to the law in conducting the controversial form of punishment.

The Attorney General's Office (AGO) executed 4 death-row convicts, all of whom were drug traffickers - Indonesian Freddy Budiman and Nigerians Seck Osmane, Michael Titus and Humphrey Jefferson - leaving the remaining 10 alive pending their ongoing legal processes.

The execution of the 4, however, is considered by some to have been against the law as many procedures were omitted by the government.

Rina, a spiritual mentor from the Gita Eklesia foundation who accompanied Osmane before his execution, said there was no clear explanation from the AGO as to why only 4 convicts had been executed and why Osmane was 1 of them.

"We don't know why only 4 people were eventually killed. All spiritual mentors were asked to wait. Until 10 p.m., they finally said only [death-row convicts] numbers 6,7,9 and 11 [would be executed]," she told a press conference at the office of the Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) in Central Jakarta.

She added that the executions disregarded the convicts' basic rights since the 4 were sent to their place of execution while seeing that the others had suddenly been spared.

Muhammad Afif of the Community Legal Aid Institute, who accompanied Nigerian Humphrey Jefferson, said the government had violated the 1964 Law on Execution Procedures, which stipulates that death-row convicts have to be informed about the certainty of their execution 72 hours beforehand.

"Jefferson was given notification on July 26 at 3:40 p.m., while the execution was carried out on July 29 at 12:50 a.m., which is less than 60 hours," he said.

The government is also guilty of another violation in the fact that 3 of the 4 convicts - Freddy, Osmane and Jefferson - were in the process of appealing for clemency when they were executed.

Freddy filed an appeal a day before his execution, while Jefferson filed his on Monday and Osmane on Wednesday, Erasmus Napitupulu from the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) said.

Under the 2010 Clemency Law, death row convicts cannot be executed if they or their relatives appeal for clemency and the President has not yet rejected it.

Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo argued it was too late for the convicts to apply for clemency.

Legal activist and lawyer Julius Ibrani of the YLBHI also questioned the excessive budget used to carry out the executions, saying that Rp 7 billion (US$532.000) had been used up even though all the executions had yet finished.

"The budget for the death penalty was given to 2 institutions, the attorney and the police. 2 budgets allocated for 1 activity can cause misuse of state budget," he said.

Another criticism comes from human rights activist Haris Azhar, who highlighted his conversation with Freddy. Freddy said he had shelled out around Rp 450 billion to the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and another Rp 90 billion to officials at the National Police to buy protection for his drug business.

Haris said Freddy had pointed to the involvement of 2-star generals from the Indonesian Military (TNI). According to Freddy, the generals had accommodated Freddy's business by providing facilities for he and his associates to use while serving his sentence on the secluded prison island of Nusakambangan.

Source: Jakarta Post, August 1, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

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