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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…

Taiwanese drug smugglers lose final death sentence appeal in Indonesia

The Supreme Court of Indonesia on Friday upheld the death sentence against 3 Taiwanese men who were convicted last year of smuggling drugs into the country. 

In its ruling, the court said the crime committed by the 3 defendants would cause great harm to Indonesians, particularly young people.

Chen Chia-wei, Wang An-kang and Luo Chih-cheng, therefore, deserve capital punishment, the court ruled in its 2nd trial of the case.

According to the court documents, the 3 men were arrested at Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in 2014 while attempting to smuggle 2 kilograms of amphetamine into the country from Hong Kong.

They were sentenced to death by a Jakarta district court last year but the sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment in an appeal to the High Court.

Prosecutors, however, appealed the High Court ruling and in January the Supreme Court sentenced the defendants to death.

The 3 defendants then filed an extraordinary appeal that was turned down Friday by the Supreme Court.

They are the 1st Taiwanese nationals to be sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug smuggling since that country's President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, took office 2 years ago.

Jokowi has taken strict measures to crack down on drug-related crimes, saying that drugs are destructive to young Indonesians and advocating the death penalty for convicted drug dealers.

The Indonesian government will show no mercy to anyone convicted of drug crimes, he said.

In August, a district court in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta sentenced 4 other Taiwanese to death for possession of 26 kg of amphetamine but they have since appealed the verdict.

Currently, some 30 Taiwanese nationals convicted of drug-related crimes are behind bars in Jakarta and Central Java, according to Indonesian authorities.

Source: focustaiwan.tw, November 13, 2016

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