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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…

Pakistan army chief Raheel Sharif confirms death sentence of 10 terrorists

The 10 condemned terrorists were given capital punishment by special military courts set-up after the 2014 Peshawar school attack for speedy trial of terrorists.

Ahead of his retirement, Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif Tuesday confirmed death sentence handed down to 10 "hardcore terrorists" by military courts for their involvement in killing 4 commandos and other heinous offences related to terrorism. 

The 10 condemned terrorists were given capital punishment by special military courts set-up after the 2014 Peshawar school attack for speedy trial of terrorists.

"Today, Chief of Army Staff confirmed death sentences awarded to another 10 hardcore terrorists who were involved in heinous offences related to terrorism, including killing of innocent civilians," army said in a statement.

The militants had also slaughtered Special Services Group's 4 commandos who had been captured and mercilessly killed during Swat operation of 2009.

Army said the convicts also planned and executed attacks on Armed Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies of Pakistan which resulted in deaths and injuries to several soldiers.

They were also involved in destruction of educational institutions and communication infrastructure. Fire-arms and explosives were also recovered from their possession.

The military courts were set up in Pakistan to expedite the trial process for terror-related offences following the December 2014 Taliban's massacre at an army-run school in Peshawar in which over 150 people, mostly school children, were killed.

Following the attack, the government had lifted the moratorium on the death penalty and the Parliament passed the 21st amendment which established military courts which was challenged in the Supreme Court.

The apex court ruled in favour of setting up of the courts in August last year.

It is not known where the trial was held and when the verdict of conviction announced, as the military courts work in secrecy due to fear of backlash by militants.

Raheel will end his 3-year term as army chief on November 29.

Source: indianexpress.com, November 22, 2016

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