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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…

Sierra Leone to reintroduce death penalty as violent crimes spike

Sierra Leone to reintroduce death penalty
Sierra Leone's Minister of Internal Affairs has said the government would start implementing the death penalty to crack down on recent increase in gang-related killings in the country.

"We will kill when the state demands it," Palo Conteh said on Thursday. "I have called on the Director of Prisons to clean the gallows so that we will not be found wanting when the situation arises."

The gallows at the Male Correctional Center (Prisons) in Freetown have not been used since 1998 because President Koroma had put a moratorium on the death penalty, Conteh said.

"The death penalty is still in our law books and if any one is found guilty of murder we will not hesitate to enforce the law," he said.

Conteh pointed out that his ministry has instituted several methods to curb violence and the rampant killings in the country, in particular Freetown.

Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone police have started the "stop and search" raids in communities that are presumed to engage in violence activities. 

The ministry of internal affairs has also set up special units comprising Operational Support Division Officers together with detectives to go after thugs and cliques.

The minister also asked for the cooperation of the public with the police by informing them of any unusual activity in their community.

Source: Global Times, September 17, 2016

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