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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…

Philippines: VP, Senators appeal to save Mary Jane Veloso

Remember the Flor Contemplacion case?
"Remember the Flor Contemplacion case?"
VICE President Leni Robredo on Wednesday appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to exhaust all available remedies and steps to save Filipina drug convict Mary Jane Veloso from Indonesian death row.

"Mary Jane's case is emblematic of the hardships faced by millions of our OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers). We must keep her welfare in mind, along with the welfare of all OFWs, as they remain under our government's protection and support despite working overseas." Robredo said.

Robredo also recounted how the past administration and the Filipino people were able to successfully spare Veloso from her scheduled execution.

"A year ago, the Filipino nation came together in prayer and unity to appeal to the Indonesian government to spare Mary Jane's life. Our prayers were answered when she was given a reprieve, and as 1 nation, we rejoiced." Robredo said.

Meanwhile, some Senators also expressed support for Veloso's plight.

"It should be remembered that she went there with the sole intent of becoming an OFW, and her misfortune is the reason why every year, we set aside funds to help victims like her," Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said

Meanwhile, according to Senator Francis Escudero, Duterte was put in a difficult position during his meeting with Indonesia President Joko Widodo.

"I totally disagree that Mary Jane should be put on death row. In fact, we should do everything we can to stop it, delay it. Remember the Flor Contemplacion case?*** We unrelentingly appealed for her case. But we are in a unique position now because the administration is batting for death penalty for drugs," Escudero added, referring to Duterte's tough war versus illegal drugs.

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*** Flor Contemplacion, a 42 year old Filipina maid, was convicted by a Singaporean court of killing another Filipina maid, Delia Maga and Nicholas Huang, the three year old Singaporean son of her employer on May 4th, 1991. She had originally confessed to the murders. It was, however, later claimed that she made the confession under duress, and it has also been claimed that she was of doubtful sanity at the time they were committed, although this seems unlikely.
She was hanged by Darshan Singh, at 6.00 a.m. on Friday, the 17th of March 1995 together with three male drug traffickers, amidst scenes of unusually tight security. Eight policemen, including two armed with machine guns and wearing flak jackets, stood outside the prison gates with two dogs. Police cars and motorcycles patrolled the street continuously, apparently to deter protests by the estimated 75,000 Filipinos working in Singapore.
Anger swept the Philippines as the news of the execution broke. Leftist and feminist groups, human rights activists and the media denounced Singapore as a barbaric, tyrannical and totalitarian state with no respect for human rights. The Roman Catholic Church called Singapore a state without mercy. The execution caused a major diplomatic row between Singapore and the Philippines, after Singapore rejected an appeal from the Philippines President, Fidel Ramos. There were protests outside the Singapore Embassy in Manila. (Source: Capital Punishment UK)

Source: Sun Star, Sept. 14, 2016

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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning