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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…

Bangladesh: 5 Islamist militants sentenced to death for killing Japanese researcher

5 Bangladesh militants sentenced to death for killing Japanese
5 Bangladesh militants sentenced to death for killing Japanese
DHAKA, Bangladesh — Five members of a banned militant group were sentenced to death by a Bangladesh court Tuesday for involvement in the slaying of a Japanese agricultural researcher two years ago.

Judge Noresh Chandra Sarker acquitted a sixth defendant belonging to the militant group, Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, in the northern Bangladeshi district of Rangpur.

Four of the defendants are in custody and a fifth man was tried in absentia.

Three masked men riding on a motorbike shot and killed Kunio Hoshi while he was riding in a rickshaw to his grass farm in Rangpur, a northern Bangladesh city, in October 2015. The area is 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of Dhaka, the capital.

The Islamic State group issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi postings online.

The report could not be independently confirmed.

Bangladesh has experienced a renewed level of Islamic militancy in recent years.

Dozens of atheists, liberal writers, bloggers and publishers and members of minority communities and foreigners have been targeted and killed.

Source: Japan Today, The Associated Press, March 1, 2017

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