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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…

Iran: Head of Judiciary Orders Quick Sunni Prisoners' Execution

Iranian regime's head of judiciary has ordered that Sunni prisoners convicted of drug trafficking to be executed as soon as possible so that they won't be subject to the new legislation approved by regime's Parliament.

According to reports, a senior judiciary official has revealed a secret decree given by the head of regime's judiciary 'Sadegh Amoli Larijani' to courts to quickly go ahead with the execution of Sunni prisoners convicted of drug trafficking.

The decree is aimed at preventing the Sunni prisoners from being subject to Parliament;s new legislation, thus replacing their death sentences with other punishments. 

At least 50 Sunni prisoners are subject to head of judiciary's secret decree.

The convicts are mostly held in Birjand, Mashhad, Zahedan, Shiraz, Kerman and Urmia prisons, for whom the death penalty will be applied.

At least 32 Sunni prisoners have been sent to the gallows in Shiraz, Birjand, Chabahar and Kerman prisons over the past few days, due to this secret command.

On November 23, 2016, Regime's parliament passed an emergency motion to add an article to the law on fighting drugs, according to which the number of capital cases for drug-related charges would be reduced. 

This motion by itself acknowledges that death penalty has had no effect on reducing drug use.

Fearing social protests and international pressures particularly those applied by the United Nations and its Human Rights Council, the motion to add an article to the law on fighting drugs was passed while being approved by all regime's entities.

Source: NCR-Iran, February 22, 2017

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