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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…

Indonesia's AG says next round of executions being planned, will prioritize drug convicts

Indonesia's AG HM Prasetyo: "Executions not a pleasant thing"
Indonesia's AG HM Prasetyo: "Executions not a pleasant thing"
President Joko Widodo brought back the regular use of the death penalty under his administration and his time in office has seen three rounds of executions and the state-sanctioned killings of 18 people, all convicted of drug-related crimes.


Jokowi gave death penalty opponents some hope last month when he said in an interview that the government wanted to move in the direction of abolishing the death penalty. But if any such movement is being made, it is evidently not stopping Indonesia’s attorney general, HM Prasetyo, from preparing for the next round of executions.

After a meeting with House Commission III today, Prasetyo confirmed to the media that plans were being made and that drug criminals were still being prioritized for the firing squad.

“As for [the next round of executions] we are still prioritizing drug [criminals], yes, that is our first priority," Prasetyo said as quoted by Detik.

Prasetyo would not give any sort of timeframe for when the next round of executions would take place but said that they would take place at the right time when “everything is ok”. 

When pressed on whether the executions would take place before the end of the year, the attorney general only said that the executions were not a pleasant thing but it had to be done to move the country forward. 

Prasetyo’s vagueness in discussing the next round of executions is in line the government's approach to the previous round in which they attempted to keep details of the executions quiet until close to the actual date in order to prevent a large international outcry. But it may also mean that the next executions are still largely theoretical at this point and the president is actually rethinking his approach to capital punishment.

There is reason to believe that President Joko Widodo has reconsidered his stance on the death penalty. Former president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, a strong opponent of the death penalty, personally appealed to Jokowi to spare the life of Pakistani citizen Zulfiqar Ali, who Habibie said is likely innocent of the crimes he was charged with. Many believe Habibie's appeal to have been effective in getting Jokowi to call off the executions that day.

Source: Coconut Jakarta, December 6, 2017

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