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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…

Saudi Arabia executes Ethiopian maid

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Saudi authorities on Monday executed an Ethiopian housemaid convicted of killing the child of her employer more than 3 years ago, the Interior Ministry said.

The ministry noted in a statement that the execution was carried out after the death sentence was endorsed by the king.

Meanwhile the convict had confessed having knifed to death the 6-year-old girl in June 2013, allegedly in retaliation for her family's ill-treatment.

Monday's beheading brings to 119 the total number of executions so far this year in the conservative kingdom.

According to international rights groups, Saudi Arabia is among the top executioners in the world.

On Jan. 2, authorities beheaded 47 people, including a prominent Shiite cleric, on terrorism-related charges.

Report says Saudi Arabia has imposed death penalty for murder, armed robbery, banditry, rape, drug-trafficking, homosexuality and witchcraft.

The kingdom, which applies a strict interpretation of Islamic law, has repeatedly rejected calls to end the death penalty, saying the punishment deters would-be offenders.

The rate of crime in Saudi Arabia is often described as low by foreign ministries and other sources.

In many countries, there are established minimum and maximum sentences for different crimes or a penal code; in Saudi Arabia, that is virtually non-existent.

Only a handful of crimes, including murder, adultery and "consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex," carry specific punishments, and in each of those cases, it's death, according to Death Penalty Worldwide.

Source: dailytrust.com.ng, September 26, 2016

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