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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…

Most Americans support trial or release from Gitmo: Reprieve comment

Guantánamo Camp Delta 1
Responding to today's YouGov poll, which suggested that 52% of Americans want the remaining prisoners at Guantánamo Bay to be either given a trial or released, Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, Reprieve U.S. attorney for detainees, said:

“Most Americans recognize that denying those in Guantánamo the same right to a fair trial provided those lucky enough to be in the United States flies in the face of justice.

"Guantánamo is an emblem of a dark period for our country. The Obama Administration must urgently take steps to shutter the prison, and charge or release its long-suffering inmates, while there’s still time.”

61 prisoners remain held at Guantánamo after the Administration released 15 cleared men - 12 Yemenis and 3 Afghans - to the United Arab Emirates on Monday.


Source: Reprieve, August 19, 2016. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve U.S., based in New York City, can be contacted on Katherine [dot] oshea [at] reprieve.org / +1 917 855 8064. Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on: communications [at] reprieve.org.uk / +44 (0) 207 553 8140.

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