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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…

Mother of man set to hang in Singapore urges PM to intercede

Prabagaran Srivijayan
Prabagaran Srivijayan
A woman today pleaded with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to intercede on behalf of her son, Prabagaran Srivijayan, who was convicted of drug trafficking in Singapore and sentenced to die.

V. Eswary, 54, said in an open letter to the PM that she was told her 29-year-old son received an "unfair trial".

She said that the car he drove when he was arrested did not belong to him, but to a friend who lent it to Prabagaran. Prabagaran only used the car as he was afraid his motorcycle would be repossessed due to delinquent payments.

"Prabagaran was caught by the police because there was 'stuff' in the car," Eswary said in the letter read out by a representative at a press conference here.

"I was told by the lawyers that the proceedings and trial in Prabagaran's case were unfair. All his cases in the Singapore courts were rejected," she said.

Eswary said she last met her son on Monday, when he broke down and maintained his innocence.

"He's always cries, saying he didn't do it and said he is being forced to admit," Eswary added.

According to the Berita Daily news portal, Prabagaran was arrested in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine, a banned opiate was discovered wrapped in 2 bundles in the centre console of the car he drove at the Woodlands Checkpoint.

He was convicted in 2014 and given the death sentence that is mandated by the republic's drug laws.

Concerns about possible unfairness in the trial arose when it emerged that the conviction was secured without the testimony of 2 purportedly key witnesses.

Prabagaran has exhausted all legal avenues to appeal his conviction in Singapore.

His case was taken up by M. Ravi who professed to be an international human rights advocate and established the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign.

Ravi is working with Malaysian lawyers Latheefa Koya and N. Surendran to urge Putrajaya to try and stop Prabagaran's execution.

At the press conference, Ravi said that he submitted a memorandum to the Malaysian government via its consulate in Singapore on December 22, but has not received any response despite being promised one.

The memorandum was in relation Singapore's obligation to uphold the right to a fair trial.

He said that the Malaysian government could file an immediate complaint with the International Court of Justice on Prabagaran's case.

"I think Singapore, in my respectful opinion, will abide by the decision," he said.

Ravi later told Malay Mail Online that he was a former lawyer who had previously represented Prabagaran in the Singapore courts.

Source: themalaymailonline.com, January 11, 2017


2 drug pushers sentenced to death in Malaysia


The High Court here sentenced 2 men to death for trafficking 745.6gm and 52.1gm of syabu respectively on Wednesday.

High Court Judge Datuk Nurchaya Arshad delivered the sentence on Andy Majudil, 35, a local, and Mohd Noor Jumat, 38, a Brunei national after finding that the prosecution had proven its case.

They appeared calm upon hearing the verdict.

Andy and Noor were found guilty of committing the offence at a house in Taman Nelly, Inanam at 9.30pm on Nov 19, 2013.

They were convicted under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act which carries the death penalty upon conviction.

Andy and Mohd Noor had on Nov 29, last year, respectively gave unsworn statements in their defence.

They were represented by counsel Ram Singh and Datuk Seri Rakhbir Singh respectively, while Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Farah Farriza Wan Ghazali appeared for the prosecution.

Source: thestar.com.my, January 11, 2017

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