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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…

Duterte takes up Veloso’s case with Widodo: 'No urgency as Veloso off execution schedule indefinitely for now'

Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Joko Widodo, right.
Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Joko Widodo, right.
President Rodrigo Duterte took up convicted drug mule Mary Jane Veloso’s case during his tête-à-tête with Indonesia President Joko Widodo at the Istana Merdeka in Jakarta on Friday.

But he refused to give details of their conversation on the fate of Veloso who remained on death row in Indonesia’s prison after being saved a by a last-minute reprieve from her scheduled death by firing squad in May 2015 from an appeal by then President Benigno Aquino III.

“Not for public consumption,” said the President in a short talk with media after concluding his meeting with Widodo.

Pressed on to comment on whether he exchanged notes with Widodo on antidrug measures, the President said: “No, I said that we will continue to respect each other’s judicial processes. The rule of law is what matters, gives order to the community.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said both governments felt no urgency to take action in the case as she had been taken off the execution schedule indefinitely at the moment.

“This is not an urgent issue as of now, let’s finish the process. Her scheduled execution has been deferred because she would be testifying in the deposition case against her illegal recruiter. After prosecuting the illegal recruiter who are the main principals here and if it turns out in the trial in the Philippines that Mary Jane is a victim then at the point we can ask for clemency soon,” said Yasay.

Yasay is hopeful that the case against the illegal recruiter of Veloso, who was caught with 2.5 kilograms of cocaine inside the lining of her bag at the Indonesian airport in 2010, will be resolved in a year’s time.

In the meantime, Yasay said Veloso had been allowed to give her deposition in the case pending with the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial court.

Source: inquirer.net, September 9, 2016

Jokowi, Duterte tight-lipped on Veloso


Rodrigo Duterte in Jakarta's State Palace on September 9, 2016
Rodrigo Duterte in Jakarta's State Palace on September 9, 2016
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday that the topic of death row inmate Mary Jane Veloso, who was detained by Indonesia for drug trafficking, was not among the subjects being discussed with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo during his state visit to the country.

After a joint press statement at the State Palace, Duterte told reporters that Veloso's issue was not for public consumption.

"We agree to respect each other's judicial processes. The rule of law is what matters," Duterte told reporters after a joint press statement at the State Palace.

Philippine national Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso had been excluded from the list of the third round of executions prepared by the Attorney General's Office (AGO) in April, as legal procedures continued in a separate but related case in her country.

Veloso was on the execution list last year but was granted a stay of execution because her alleged boss had been arrested in the Philippines. The authorities there requested Indonesian assistance in pursuing the case.

Jokowi held a welcome ceremony in the afternoon, after taking Duterte on his famous blusukan (impromptu visit) to Tanah Abang textile market in Central Jakarta to give an example of how Indonesia manages social issues directly from the field, which was followed by a bilateral meeting.

Source: Jakarta Post, September 9, 2016

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