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…

Portugal wants end to death penalty in Equatorial Guinea or expulsion from CPLP

Augusto Santos Silva
Portugal's foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva
Portugal's foreign minister has said that Equatorial Guinea must abolish the death penalty immediately or its membership of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) will be illegitimate.

"From Portugal's point of view, [the abolition of the death penalty] has to be immediate", Augusto Santos Silva said on Tuesday on the sidelines of the 11th CPLP head of states' conference that ended in Brasilia on Tuesday.

For Portugal, there are 3 essential conditions that Equatorial Guinea has to meet to be a member of the CPLP: the ratification of the organisation's articles, the abolition of the death penalty and the generalisation of teaching Portuguese in the country. Hardly anybody speaks Portuguese in this 'Portuguese-speaking country'.

"We understand that the third demand may take longer, but the other 2 just depend on the authorities", Santos Silva said.

In the final declaration signed at the Brasilia summit, Equatorial Guinea dragged its heels again by asking for 'technical support' to abolish the death penalty, which the other countries responded to "with satisfaction".

Equatorial Guinea became a full member of the CPLP at the Dili summit in July 2014 at the insistence of Angola, on the condition that it abolish the death penalty and start teaching Portuguese in the former Spanish colony that no other reputable organisations want as a member.

Source: theportugalnews.com, November 4, 2016

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