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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…

Iran: 4 Prisoners Hanged on Drug Charges

Iran: Medieval and barbaric punishments
Iran: Medieval and barbaric punishments
On the mornings of Monday January 23 and Wednesday January 25, 4 prisoners were hanged in 2 different prisons on drug related charges.

According to close sources, at least 2 prisoners were hanged at Karaj's Ghezel Hesar Prison on January 25 on drug related charges. 

The prisoners have been identified as Majid Askari and Rahman Nourian. They were reportedly transferred from their prison cells to solitary confinement two days before their execution.

"Majid was arrested 6 years ago for one kilogram and 100 grams of crystal meth, and he was sentenced to death by the revolutionary court," a source close to Mr. Askari tells Iran Human Rights.

Iran Human Rights had warned about the imminent executions of Mr. Askari and Mr. Nourian.

Close sources also report on 2 executions which were carried out at Maragheh Prison on January 23 on drug related charges. The prisoners have been identified as Iraj Ghafouri and Hossein Fatemi.

"Iraj Ghafouri was arrested approximately 4 years and 7 months ago for 800 grams of crystal meth and some opium. Hossein Fatemi was also arrested in 2012, he was sentenced to death for the charge of trafficking 500 grams of crystal meth and 700 grams of crack," a close source tells Iran Human Rights.

Executions for drug related charges are increasing in Iran while the Iranian Parliament has proposed a law to limit the use of the death penalty for drug charges. The law must first be approved by Iran's Guardian Council, and it is not clear whether it would actually lead to a reduction in the number of drug related executions. Additionally, members of parliament recently wrote a letter to the head of the Judiciary calling for a halt to the execution sentences of about 5,000 prisoners who are on death row for allegedly committing drug related offenses.

Source: Iran Human Rights, January 26, 2017

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