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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…

Malaysia: Brothers on death row get last minute reprieve

Suthar and Rames Batumalai
Suthar and Rames Batumalai
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai temporarily avoided execution today after their family filed a plea for clemency yesterday over their murder conviction.

Uma Muthukrishnan, who is the duo’s sister, said a police officer had informed her that the execution has been stayed.

“According to him, the execution is postponed, but we don’t know when is the postponed date. It’s not today, confirmed not today, but don’t know when,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

She said the “whole family” or 26 family members visited the brothers — who are both not married — in the Kajang prison yesterday.

Lawyer Haresh Mahadevan, who was appointed only yesterday to file a clemency petition for the duo, said the application for a stay of execution was submitted at around 3pm to 4pm yesterday to the Negri Sembilan Pardons Board via the state’s Mentri Besar’s office.

Haresh said the receipt of the clemency petition was acknowledged by both the Kajang Prison and the Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar’s Office, but said the authorities have yet to contact him yet regarding the petition.

“I hope so that the stay today is in view of this fresh petition!” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

The family has said that no clemency petitions were filed previously while prison authorities said one was filed previously, Haresh said, adding however that there is no bar against the filing of a fresh petition.

According to Haresh, the family had only found out that the two were to be executed after they received a February 18 letter at 2pm this Wednesday. The letter from the Kajang prison director Datuk Narander Singh was sent via registered post, he said.

In the letter sighted by Malay Mail Online, the brothers’ mother was informed that close family members would be allowed a final visit on February 23 after 9am at the Kajang prison. The letter said the death sentence would be carried out soon.

Citing Uma, Haresh said the family had visited the two brothers in the past in the Kluang prison and Bentong prison, and that the duo were shifted from Bentong prison this Wednesday to the Kajang prison for their execution.

Earlier today, Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu told Malay Mail Online that the usual practice in Malaysia would see convicts on the death row being executed on Friday mornings between 5.30am to 6am.

It is also the usual practice that executions will be carried out on the Friday that follows immediately after the last visit from family members, she said.

“I have received confirmation that Rames and Suthar have received a temporary reprieve and were not executed this morning,” she told Malay Mail Online.

“Amnesty International Malaysia is also concerned with the lack of transparency surrounding executions in Malaysia.

“The family was not provided with adequate notice of the execution and despite the temporary reprieve, the execution can be carried out at any time with minimal notice to the family,” she added, further urging Malaysia to take steps to abolish the death penalty.

Amnesty International Malaysia yesterday highlighted the duo’s impending executions and said that no execution must be carried out while appeals for clemency are pending.

Rames and Suthar, aged 44 and 39, were sentenced to death in April 2010 under Section 302 of the Penal Code after being convicted for a February 4, 2006 murder.

Source: Yahoo News, February 24, 2017



Two brothers’ execution halted after 11th hour appeal for mercy


PETALING JAYA: Two brothers who were due to be executed on Friday morning for a murder they were convicted for received a temporary reprieve at the last minute, said Amnesty International Malaysia.

Brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai, who were convicted for murder in April 2010, had earlier submitted a clemency application for a royal pardon through their lawyers.

The clemency application was submitted to the Negri Sembilan Pardons Board on Thursday by Haresh Mahadevan & Co.

The family of Rames, 44, and Suthar, 39, were only informed on Wednesday that they should visit the brothers for the last time on Thursday ahead of their execution.

The brothers were originally found guilty of a murder committed in Feb 2006.

Source: The Star Online, February 24, 2017

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