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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…

Man sentenced to death for killing Coptic vendor in Egypt

Cairo, Egypt
Cairo, Egypt
Cairo: An Egyptian court in the coastal city of Alexandria on Thursday sentenced an Islamist militant to death by hanging for murdering a Coptic alcohol vendor in the street earlier this year, legal sources said.

The city’s Criminal Court unanimously issued the verdict against the defendant identified as Adel Abdul Noor, the sources added.

The ruling, which can be appealed, was passed after approval from the Grand Mufti, Egypt’s top Islamic official, a routine procedure in cases involving death sentences in Egypt.

In January, Abdul Noor was captured on a surveillance camera attacking with a knife Yousuf Lami, who owned an alcohol store in the district of Khaled ibn Al Walid in eastern Alexandria.

Later, the 50-year-old suspect was arrested in a deserted house in Alexandria.

He confessed to the murder at the trial that started last month and refused to have a lawyer to defend him. Abdul Noor, however, denied links to any militant group.

The murder came weeks after a suicide bomber attacked a mass service in a chapel adjoining the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo, killing 29 worshippers.

Daesh claimed the assault, the deadliest against Egypt’s Christian minority in decades.

Egypt’s Christians, known as Coptics, have long complained about persecution and attacks by Islamist extremists.

Hundreds of Christians last week fled North Sinai after radical Islamists executed some of them.

Christians staunchly back President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi, who as defence minister led the army’s 2013 ouster of president Mohammad Mursi following mass protests against his rule.

Dozens of churches across Egypt were attacked by Mursis’s backers in the violent protests that gripped the mostly Muslim country following his overthrow.

In 2014, Al Sissi became the first Egyptian president to go to the Cathedral in central Cairo to congratulate Christians on the Coptic Christmas.

Source: Gulf News, March 9, 2017

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