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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…

Kyrgyzstan: Draft law on death penalty for pedophiles submitted for public discussion

Kyrgystan's capital Bishkek
Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek
The draft law on introduction of death penalty for pedophiles has been submitted for public discussion. The initiator is Onuguu-Progress parliamentary faction.

It is proposed to supplement Article 21 of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic with the words "The death penalty is prohibited, except for crimes against sexual inviolability of the minors."

Faction leader Bakyt Torobaev notes that it is necessary legislatively to toughen the penalties against pedophiles. "If the MPs support us, then such provision will be included in the Constitution," he says.

Moratorium on the death penalty was imposed in Kyrgyzstan in 1998. And in November 2007, the country adopted a new version of the Constitution, from which provisions on the death penalty have been removed.

The theme of the abolition of capital punishment for pedophiles was raised by the deputies in the spring before going on vacation, since more than 10,000 citizens then initiated the introduction of the death penalty for rapists of the minors.

Chairman of the Committee on the Protection of Children "Strong family - strong state" Zhenish Akmatov noted that the rate of sexual offenses against children is increasing from year to year. Explaining the need for the introduction of capital punishment, the activist noted that many countries use the death penalty. It is Belarus, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and more than 12 US states. Russia, Kazakhstan, South Korea have such a provision, permitting the use of the death penalty, in the Constitution but it is not put in practice.

Kubat Otorbaev, Ombudsman, stated that he, as a parent, is for the abolition of the moratorium on the death penalty, but as the country's main human rights defender he understands Kyrgyzstan can not use it. Ombudsman explained that the introduction of the death penalty will be, in fact, the rejection by the state of the intentions on raising the spiritual values without which a developed society can not exist. And deprivation of a person's life (even legally) means lifting of responsibility by the state and society for the education of man as a person. "In the end, all this could lead to further degradation and exasperation of the society, and in the best case to a standstill in the legal consciousness," Kubat Otorbaev said.

As an alternative, the Ombudsman proposes to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment, fixing legally that a pedophile can not be granted amnesty.

Source: eng.24.kg, August 17, 2016

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