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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…

Ex-officials at Vietnamese firm sentenced to death

Former CEO and sales manager at state-owned company found to have stolen millions in country's largest embezzlement scandal

A Vietnamese court issued the death penalty Wednesday for 2 former executives at state-owned shipbuilding firm Vinashin in the largest embezzlement scandal to hit the nation.

Tran Van Liem, the former CEO at the company's Vinashinlines subsidiary and Giang Kim Dat, its former sales manager, were sentenced to death by a Hanoi court for embezzling $16 million from the firm.

Dat and Liem were found guilty of using their positions to steal assets, including conspiring with business partners to fix prices on ships the company had acquired in the late 2000s.

As sales manager, Dat received between 2 and 3.75 % on every closed transaction.

Tran Van Khuong, Vinashinline's ex-chief accountant, was also sentenced to life imprisonment on the same charge while Giang Van Hien, Dat's father, received a 12-year sentence for money laundering.

All men claimed innocence at their 6-day trial.

Vinashin, which the government had flooded with debt on the expressed hope that its shipbuilding prowess would elevate Vietnam on the global stage, had a peak debt of $4.5 billion when the scandal emerged in 2010.

The embezzlement was particularly embarrassing for Vietnam when the company defaulted on $600 million in foreign loans the same year.

Moody's attributed the fate of Vinashin, which had been funded partially by a $750 million sovereign debt issuance, when it downgraded Vietnam's credit rating in 2010.

9 officials, including Liem, were convicted of other charges related to the scandal in 2012.

Liem had been sentenced to 19 years for failing to stop the embezzlement, although he wasn't yet considered one of its chief beneficiaries.

Dat, who fled the country in 2010, had been hiding in several countries on fake passports over a 5-year period before being returned in 2015 to face trial.

Source: aa.com.tr, February 23, 2017

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