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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…

Two Bahraini Men at Imminent and Renewed Risk of Execution

Mohamed Ramadhan Issa Ali Hussain and Hussain Ali Moosa Hussain Mohamed are at imminent risk of execution following the execution of three men on 15 January 2017.

Their death sentences were upheld by the Court of Cassation on 16 November 2015 and have been passed to the King who has the authority to ratify the sentences, commute them or grant a pardon. 

Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Ali Moosa are now at imminent and renewed risk of execution. 

After a nearly seven-year hiatus, Bahrain resumed executions on 15 January when it executed three men whose death sentences, in a grossly unfair trial, were confirmed by the Court of Cassation on 9 January and speedily ratified by the King.

Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Ali Moosa were sentenced to death on 29 December 2014 for the killing of a policeman, who died in a bomb explosion in al-Deir, a village northeast of Manama, on 14 February 2014. 

Their trial was grossly unfair and relied on forced “confessions”. Both men did not have access to their lawyers during their interrogation at the Criminal Investigations Directorate, where Amnesty International continues to document the use of torture and other ill-treatment, and later told their lawyers that they had been tortured in the first few days following their arrest in February 2014. 

Mohamed Ramadhan said that he had been detained incommunicado and beaten and given electric shocks to force him to “confess” but were unsuccessful. Hussain Ali Moosa said he was coerced to “confess” and incriminate Mohamed Ramadhan after being suspended by his limbs from the ceiling, given electric-shocks and beaten repeatedly for several days.

Despite the two men’s lawyers lodging complaints with the Special investigations Unit within the Public Prosecution regarding the two men’s torture allegations, they received no response. 

Mohamed Ramadhan’s wife and a US-based NGO also lodged complaints with the Ombudsman’s office but it failed to investigate his torture allegations for two years and his wife has not been informed about the conclusion of its investigation.

➽ Click here to take action NOW (on Amnesty International's website)

Source: Amnesty International, January 18, 2019

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