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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…

Hamas sentences 3 to death for spying for Israel, upholds 3 more rulings

Hamas militants executing alleged collaborators with Israel in August 2014
Hamas militants executing alleged collaborators with Israel in August 2014
All were convicted of treason, and some charged with causing the death and injury of Gazans

Authorities in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip have sentenced 6 men to death for "collaborating" with Israel, the Palestinian Safa press service reports. 

3 of the sentences were new while the other 3 were sentences that were upheld following appeal. 

The Associated Press reports that Sunday's sentences bring the number of people on death row to 10, and several others are appealing the same conviction. 

According to the Safa report, all were convicted of treason, and some of the men were charged with causing the death and injury of Gazans through their actions. 

Hamas authorities believe that 1 of the convicted, born in 1968, began working with Israel in 1991, said Safa. 

3 of the accused were from Jabalya, in the northern Gaza Strip, and the others were from Gaza City and Khan Younis. 

Under Palestinian law, those convicted of collaboration with Israel, murder and drug trafficking face the death penalty. 

Execution orders must be approved by the Palestinian president before they can be carried out, but Hamas no longer recognizes the legitimacy of Mahmoud Abbas whose 4-year term ended in 2009. 

In the past, Hamas has come under fire from human rights groups for executing suspected collaborators without a trial. 

Sometimes Gazans are accused of being collaborators based on mere rumor and at other times those who fall out of favor with Hamas are deemed collaborators and executed. 

Source: 124news.tv, February 19, 2017


Gaza court sentences to death 6 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel


Hamas militants carrying out an execution in Gaza City in October 2013
Hamas militants carrying out an execution in Gaza City in October 2013
A military court in the besieged Gaza Strip sentenced 6 Palestinians to death on Sunday after they were found guilty of collaborating with Israel.

The Gaza Ministry of Interior said in a statement that a Gaza City court upheld the death sentences of 3 defendants, rejecting a final appeal, while 3 other defendants also found guilty of collaboration could still appeal their death penalty.

7 other defendants were handed down prison sentences of up to 17 years with hard labor.

Under Palestinian law, willful premeditated murder, treason, and collaboration with the enemy -- usually Israel -- are punishable by death. However, all death sentences must be ratified by the Palestinian president before they can be carried out.

Despite this, Hamas' de facto administration in Gaza has carried out executions periodically without receiving approval from President Mahmoud Abbas since 2010.

Following a decision by Gaza-based legislators last year which made death sentences "obligatory after all possible appeals against them are completed" and reportedly to be held in public, human rights group Amnesty International, EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah, and the UN all admonished the practice of the death penalty and urged the the legislators to reverse the decision.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov said at the time that "Palestine is one and Gaza and the West Bank are its 2 integral parts. I urge Hamas not to carry out these executions and I call on President Abbas to establish a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty."

Hamas officials maintain that due to the indefinite postponement of presidential and parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territory, and the failure of the Palestinian Authority to assume most of its functions in the besieged coastal enclave, authority for ratifying death sentences lies with the legislative council in Gaza.

Source: Ma'an News Agency, February 20, 2017

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