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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…

Egypt: Mohamed Morsi death sentence overturned

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi
Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi
Deposed Egyptian president no longer faces threat of execution but continues to serve long jail terms

An Egyptian court has overturned a death sentence against the deposed president Mohamed Morsi, and ordered a retrial.

The Muslim Brotherhood leader was sentenced to death in June 2015 in connection with a mass jail break during Egypt’s 2011 uprising.

The first president to be democratically elected after the revolution, Morsi was overthrown in mid-2013 by general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during mass protests against his rule, and immediately arrested.

Tuesday’s ruling by the court of cassation means Morsi is no longer under threat of execution, although he is serving three long jail sentences. 

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison without parole on charges arising from the killing of protesters in December 2012; 40 years on charges of spying for Qatar; and a life sentence on charges of spying for the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

Sisi has tried to crush the Brotherhood, which he says is part of a terrorist network that poses an existential threat to the Arab and western worlds. 

The Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest political movement, says its activities are entirely peaceful and denies using violent methods.

Sources: The Guardian, Reuters, November 15, 2016

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