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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…

Indonesian President clarifies Philippine counterpart's comment on Filipina drug mule Mary Jane Veloso

Presidente Rodrigo Duterte (left) and President Joko Widodo
Presidente Rodrigo Duterte (left) and President Joko Widodo
JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo has clarified what Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said to him during their meeting in Jakarta on Friday (Sep 9) about Filipino death row drug convict Mary Jane Veloso.

"President Duterte said please, go ahead with the process in line with the law in Indonesia," said Mr Widodo when speaking with reporters after opening a new terminal at Tanjung Priok port, north Jakarta on Tuesday.

However, on Monday Mr Widodo used the phrase 'please, go ahead if you want to execute', which had some media reporting that Mr Duterte had given the 'green light' to execute Veloso.

The Philippines was quick to deny this, with Mr Duterte's spokesperson Mr Ernesto Abella saying on the same day that during his conversation with Mr Widodo, the actual statement was 'Follow your own laws. I will not interfere.'

Mr Widodo added that his government will also respect the legal process on Veloso currently ongoing in Manila.

He also praised Mr Duterte's consistency in the country's fight against drugs.

"I see that President Duterte's consistency in eradicating drugs is really high. There is no tolerance. Thus, he said that he will respect the laws in Indonesia," said Mr Widodo.

Veloso was spared the firing squad at the eleventh hour in April last year after a woman in the Philippines came forward to admit that she had duped Veloso into smuggling drugs to Indonesia.

In 2010, she was arrested in Jogyakarta airport for trying to bring in 5.7 kilograms of heroin, and was given the death sentence later in October.

Her death sentence has been put on hold now as investigations are ongoing.

Source: Channel News Asia, September 14, 2016

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