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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…

Iran secretary of Human Rights: UN and Western countries should appreciate us for the executions

The Iranian regime’s secretary of the so-called Human Rights Council, Javad Larijani, flagrantly asked the international community to encourage and reward the mullahs' regime for the mass executions in Iran.

On Thursday September 1, in an interview with the state-run Mizan website affiliated with the Judiciary and in response to a statement by Ahmad Shaheed UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran regarding mass execution of 12 prisoners, Larijani said: “Ahmad Shaheed and other Western countries should be grateful of Iran."

“Of course we act in accordance with our responsibilities and they should appreciate us but instead they denounce us.” he added.

He claimed, “These accusations are not new. In any case, based on our laws, we punish those who have played a major role in drug trafficking and destruction of the youth in our country with the most severe sentences which may be life imprisonment or the death penalty.”

It should be pointed out that while the regime executes the country's youth group by group for drug trafficking, the clue to drug trafficking is primarily connected to Khamenei and Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and its income is spent on terrorism and export of fundamentalism. A confidential United Nations’ report released by WikiLeaks said that the Iranian regime is considered the biggest drug trafficker in the world (U.S. Embassy in Baku - 12 June 2009).

On the other hand, Mohammad Bagher Olfat, deputy head of the Judiciary, admitted that the executions by the mullahs' regime under the pretext of drug-related offenses are ineffective and said: “The death penalty does not deter drug traffickers so far, and we have announced this in a letter to the Head of the Judiciary.”

Olfat who was interviewed by the state-run Tasnim news agency on 27 August 2016 said: “We with numerous officers have fought smugglers in accordance to law, but unfortunately the volume of drugs entering the country and transiting through the country as well as drug diversity and population involved, all have grown and the statistics is negative in this context.”

The deputy head of Judiciary added: “Another important point to consider is that the people who are executed in fact are not the main traffickers ... Nevertheless, we have written to the head of the Judiciary and announced that we think the current situation is not deterrent.”

It should be noted that Ahmad Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, on Monday, August 8 condemned criminal execution of 12 prisoners by Khamenei's henchmen. He said execution of prisoners under the pretext of drugs is in violation of international law.

Source: NCRI, September 3, 2016

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