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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…

Qatar court confirms death penalty for 2 from Tamil Nadu, India

Doha, Qatar
The highest court of Qatar on Monday upheld death penalties awarded to 2 labourers from Tamil Nadu and commuted the life sentence of a third to 15 years' imprisonment. 

The Court of Cassation's decision means that Alagappa Subramanian and Chinnadurai Perumal - on death row - and Sivakumar Arasan have exhausted their legal options. 

All 3 were convicted of the 2012 murder of a woman who was a Qatari citizen.

"The court also rejected the prosecution's appeal to have the death penalty awarded to Mr. Arasan. The only options left to these men is a clemency petition to the Emir of Qatar. 

The Indian Embassy will have to do this," said Nizar Kochery, a lawyer engaged by the Indian Embassy to represent the 3 men.

The case has gone through 3 tiers of the country's judiciary. The Indian Embassy stepped in only after the 2nd tier in July 2016, ahead of the deadline to file appeals papers after a Doha appeals court upheld a lower court's December 31, 2014 sentences.

The case came to light after Suresh Kumar, a Nagercoil-based lawyer, travelled to Qatar to meet the convicts. He had been informed of the case by C. Rajammal, Mr. Perumal's wife. "I have informed Rajammal of today's verdict. I also reached out to Sivakumar's family. Subramanian's family remains untraceable," he said.

Mr. Kumar said that Mr. Subramanian maintained that he was from Pudukkottai but those living in the address he provided said they did not know him. Perumal hailed from Virudhunagar district while Mr. Arasan was from Kallakurichi in Villupuram. After Ms. Rajammal submitted a memorandum, the Tamil Nadu government released Rs. 9.5 lakh for their legal expenses. "I have advised Ms. Rajammal to try to meet the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. Perumal is a kidney patient and received treatment within the jail," said Mr. Kumar.

"We have to always respect the local laws and work through the local governments and authorities," said Dyaneshwar M. Mulay, Secretary (CPV & OIA), Ministry of External Affairs, when asked about the case during a press conference on Tuesday. 

The last Indian to be executed - by a firing squad - in Qatar was Arun Abraham from Kerala, in March 2003.

Source: The Hindu, January 3, 2017

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