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

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…

Iran: Nine executed over drug charges

Iran: Medieval and barbaric punishments
Iran: Medieval and barbaric punishments
Iranian authorities executed at least nine prisoners on Sunday November 13. 

Eight of the prisoners were reportedly hanged on drug related charges.

Iran Human Rights (NOV 15 2016): On the morning of Sunday November 13, three unidentified prisoners were reportedly hanged at Rasht's Lakan Prison (Gilan province, northern Iran) and six prisoners were reportedly hanged at Urmia's Darya Prison (West Azerbaijan province, northwestern Iran).

According to the state-run news agency Fars, two of the prisoners executed at Lakan Prison were sentenced to death on drug related charges and the other prisoner was sentenced to death on murder charges. 

The report says one of the drug related prisoners was 56 years old and charged with trafficking 500 grams of heroin while the other prisoner was 33 years old and charged with possession of 997 grams of crack and one kilogram of opium. 

The report says the prisoner hanged on murder charges was 36 years old. The names of the prisoners were not mentioned in the report.

According to the human rights news agency HRANA, the prisoners hanged at Darya Prison were all sentenced to death on drug related charges. 

These prisoners were reportedly transferred to solitary confinement the day before their execution. 

HRANA has identified these prisoners as: Karam Gholizadeh (charged with possessing and trafficking four kilograms of heroin), Mahkoom Ayjak (details of case file unknown), Aref Esmaeili (jailed for three years before he was executed, charged with possessing and trafficking 800 grams of narcotics), Nasser Hosseini (jailed for three years before he was executed), Farrokh Abdini (charged with possessing and trafficking one kilogram of heroin), and Javad Asghari (jailed for four years before he was executed).

Source: Iran Human Rights, November 16, 2016

Iran: 9 executions in Orumiyeh and Rasht

Six prisoners were executed in the Orumiyeh Prison (northwest Iran) and three in the Rasht Prison (northern Iran) between November 12 and 14, 2016.

Five of those executed in Orumiyeh were from the Iranian Kurdistan and included an Army officer.

The number of the executions registered in the first two weeks of November thus amounts to 37. The actual number of executions is considered much higher as the Iranian regime prevents leakage of news and details of its crimes.

Despite hollow and absurd maneuverings of some regime officials on cutting down the number of executions, the Iranian deputy Foreign Minister, Majid Takht-e Ravanchi, made a vivid comment on the regime's human rights talks with the European Union, underlining that executions are the regime's "red line" and "cannot be given up." (The state-run ILNA – November 11, 2016)

Mullah Sadeq Larijani, head of the Iranian Judiciary, also said, "(The European Union) must understand that their remarks about abolishment of retribution and executions violate our people's rights." (The state-run media in Iran, November 14, 2016)

At the same time, Massoud Zahedian, commander of the State Security Force's Anti-Narcotics Police, said the following about the ceaseless practice of executions in Iran: "The positive effects of executions have already become obvious, but to have a greater impact, the executions must be carried out promptly. I mean, when an execution is carried out several years after committing the crime, surely it does not have sufficient impact on other drug-smugglers." (The state-run media, November 14, 2016)

The Iranian regime maintains its power solely by relying on executions and torture. Holding human rights dialogues with this barbaric regime only fuels their machinery for murder and suppression.

The Iranian regime's dossier must be submitted to the UN Security Council and its officials brought to justice for 37 years of committing crimes against humanity including the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988.

Source: The secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, November 14, 2016

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