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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: Seven executed on drug charges

Seven prisoners were executed on drug related charges in northern Iran.

Iran Human Rights (JAN 4 2017): Four prisoners were reportedly executed at Karaj Central Prison (northern Iran) and three prisoners were reportedly executed at Karaj's Ghezel Hesar Prison (northern Iran). 

All seven prisoners were sentenced to death on drug related charges.

According to close sources, on Wednesday January 4, the execution sentences of three prisoners were carried out at Ghezel Hesar Prison for drug related offenses. The prisoners are Khashiar Behrouzi, Mehdi Kavousi, and Anoush Baluch. These three prisoners and another prisoner identified as Harif Gholami were transferred to solitary confinement on Monday in preparation of their executions. According to reports, Mr. Gholami was transferred to Ghezel Hesar Prison from Tehran's central prison for execution; however, prior to his transfer, Mr. Gholami reportedly killed another prisoner. 

As a result of the murder he committed, his death sentence for the drug related charges was stopped pending investigation into the murder charges. Mr. Gholami is currently being held in solitary confinement in Ghezel Hesar Prison. 

There are numerous cases of death row prisoners in Iran committing acts of murder in order to delay or quash their execution sentence.

On Tuesday January 3, four prisoners were reportedly executed at Karaj Central Prison on drug related charges. Close sources report the names of the prisoners as: Hadi Moghaddam, Ali Nouri, Alireza Haj Firouzabadi, Ali Nouri.

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and the media, have been silent about these seven executions.

Iranian authorities continue to implement death sentences for drug related offenses at a high rate even when an urgent plan was approved in the Iranian Parliament last week calling for a halt to the execution of prisoners on death row for drug related offenses. 

Additionally, Iranian Parliament members recently sent a joint letter to the head of Iran's Judiciary asking for the imminent execution of approximately five thousand drug-related prisoners to be stopped pending further review of their cases.

Source: Iran Human Rights, January 4, 2017

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