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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…

North Korea: Kim Jong-Un Strengthens Reign of Terror

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un
August 12, 2016: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is said to be strengthening his reign of terror.

According to a source with inside knowledge of North Korea, Pyongyang authorities were known to have publicly executed 60 North Koreans so far this year. 

The source said it was more than twice the average number of people killed annually in public executions since Kim took power in 2011.

The source added that the economic situation in the North has worsened due to toughest international sanctions against the regime early this year, and authorities are using these executions to control growing public complaints against North Korean leaders.

The source said that many of those being killed are family members left behind by defectors, and brokers arranging the defectors' escape routes, as they are perceived to be a threat to the stability of the regime.

According to another source, the North’s Ministry of State Security executed scores of defectors' families and defection brokers in early February on charges of espionage.

The source added that around 10 brokers were executed by a firing squad in Hyesan, Yanggang Province in April. 

Source: world.kbs.co.kr, August 12, 2016

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