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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…

Iraq executes 7 Arab men on terrorism convictions

At least 7 men of different Arab nationalities were hanged Wednesday in Iraq on charges of links to al-Qaeda and convictions for terrorist crimes, officials said.

"The death penalty has been carried out against 7 terrorists holding various Arab nationalities after the completion of their legal procedures," read a statement by the Iraqi ministry of justice.

The 7 were captured at least 4 years ago and found guilty of terrorist activities with al-Qaeda in Iraq.

"The blood of the martyrs will not go unpunished," Haidar al-Zamili, Iraq's justice minister, said in the statement.

The executed were from Libya, Tunisia, Sudan, Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. 

They were all hanged at the Nasiriyah prison in southern Iraq, said a local official from Dhiqar province, also in southern Iraq.

In June, the Iraqi Justice Ministry announced that in the 1st half of this year, it carried out 45 executions.

Another 36 were hanged for their involvement in a massacre at the Speicher military base, where ISIS killed 1,700 Shiite cadets. The cadets were killed after ISIS took over large swathes of Iraq and seized Mosul, starting in June 2014.

Source: rudaw.net, September 1, 2016

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