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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…

Judicial leave application for Malaysians on Singapore death row dismissed

S. Prabagaran
S. Prabagaran
KUALA LUMPUR: The applications for leave for a judicial review by two Malaysians who are on death row in Singapore for drug trafficking have been dismissed by the High Court here.

S. Prabagaran, 30, and factory worker K. Datchinamurthy, 32, and their mothers filed the leave applications to compel the Government to refer Singapore to an international court claiming that they were denied fair trial.

Justice Hanipah Farikullah struck out the applications by Prabagaran and his mother V. Eswary, 54, and also Datchinamurthy and his mother A. Letchumi in chambers on Thursday.

Met by reporters later, counsel N. Surendran said Justice Hanipah dismissed their applications on grounds that the matter was related to foreign policy and the court has no jurisdiction to interfere.

Surendran said Prabagaran and Datchinamurthy and their mothers wanted to obtain an order for the Government to refer the island republic to International Court of Justice (ICJ) saying that they were denied fair trial.

He said their applications to refer the issue had been struck out by the court and the court made no order as to cost as the matter was public interest.

"We will definitely appeal as we think the decision is wrong.

"This is regarding the treatment of our citizens abroad. So our view is that the court could interfere and issue the necessary order," he said.

Prabagaran and Eswary are applying to the High Court in Malaysia to compel the Government here to take his case to ICJ.

They have named the Malaysian Government and its Foreign Affairs Minister as respondents.

Among others, they are seeking a declaration that the respondents are legally obliged to protect and give effect to Prabagaran’s right to a fair trial and life and liberty.

In her affidavit, Eswary said that her son was convicted in the Singapore High Court on July 22, 2014, for trafficking in 22.24g of diamorphine.

She said he was sentenced to death on Sept 22 that year under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Eswary said her son’s appeal to the Singapore Court of Appeal was dismissed on Oct 2, 2015.

She said Prabagaran then applied to the Court of Appeal to re-open his appeal and set aside his death sentence but this was dismissed on Dec 2 last year.

Eswary said she submitted a memorandum to the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore to refer the case to the ICJ on Dec 21 last year but there had been no response.

Meanwhile, Datchinamurthy and his mother Letchumi are seeking a declaration from the Malaysian Government and its Foreign Ministry that they are legally obliged to protect and give Datchinamurthy a right to a fair trial and/or right to life and liberty.

Source: The Star Online, March 24, 2017

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