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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…

Egypt court upholds 10 death sentences over football riot

Port Said, Egypt
An Egyptian court upheld Monday death sentences against 10 people convicted over rioting that claimed 74 lives at a stadium in Port Said in 2012, judicial and security officials said. 

The ruling by the Court of Cassation, which is final, excluded an 11th defendant who remains at large after his death penalty was also confirmed in June 2015 by another court.

The ruling by the Court of Cassation, which is final, excluded an 11th defendant who remains at large after his death penalty was also confirmed in June 2015 by another court.

The court also upheld sentences of life imprisonment for 10 people and 5 years for 12 others, including Port Said's security chief at the time, said the officials who requested anonymity as they are unauthorised to speak to the media.

Monday's ruling was welcomed by relatives of those who died in the rioting, who celebrated outside the court in Cairo.

The riot, the country's deadliest sports-related violence, broke out when fans of home team Al-Masry and Cairo's Al-Ahly clashed after a premier league match between the 2 clubs.

Ultras -- hardcore football supporters usually blamed by the authorities for violence -- were at the forefront of the 2011 uprising that unseated longtime president Hosni Mubarak.

Source: al-monitor.com, February 21, 2017

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