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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…

Amnesty slams Pakistani court

By sentencing Indian national Kulbushan Jadhav to death, Pakistan's military court system has once again showed how it "rides roughshod over international standards", Amnesty International said on Monday, questioning the secretive court's ability to dispense justice.

"The death sentence given to Kulbushan Jadhav shows yet again how Pakistan's military court system rides roughshod over international standards," Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director, Amnesty International, said in response to Pakistan military court sentencing Jadhav to death for alleged spying.

"Stripping defendants of their rights and operating in notorious secrecy, military courts do not dispense justice but travesty it. They are an inherently abusive system that is best left to deal with issues of military discipline, not any other crimes," Patnaik said in a statement.

Amnesty opposes the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances, regardless of who is accused, the crime, guilt or innocence, or the method of execution, he said.

A Pakistan military court sentenced Jadhav to death after he was convicted of "espionage and sabotage activities".

The prominent rights group also noted that over 87 executions were recorded in Pakistan in 2016 and over 360 death sentences were recorded in the country last year.

It said over 6,000 people are known to be under death sentence at the end of 2016 in Pakistan, which is among the world's top 5 executioners.

Source: Daily Pioneer, April 11, 2017


India has never sent a Pakistani spy to the gallows



What is ironic is that Jadhav was not brought before a civil court for trial. Indian officials say that this is to do with the fact that they were unable to produce enough evidence against him.

India termed the Kulbhushan Jadhav incident as a new low by Pakistan. Jadhav accused by Pakistan of being an Indian spy was sentenced to death by Pakistan on Monday. While India has raised strong objection to this incident, it also says that no spy from Pakistan has ever been sentenced to death in India.

Between 2013 and 2016, India has arrested at least 46 Pakistan spies. None of them have been given a death penalty. Even in incidents prior to 2013, no Pakistan spy has been awarded a death penalty, Indian officials say.

In the past 4 years 52 men connected to the ISI were arrested by India. In 2013, 13 agents were arrested while in 2014, the number was at 9. In 2015 and 2016 then number stood at 20 and 10.

While India maintains that no spy from Pakistan has ever been sentenced to death, that could not be said in the case of the neighbour. In 1999, Pakistan executed Sheikh Shamim on charges of spying. Sarabjit Singh was also sentenced to death. However he was killed by inmates in jail after being on the death row for nearly 16 years.

What is ironic is that Jadhav was not brought before a civil court for trial. Indian officials say that this is to do with the fact that they were unable to produce enough evidence against him. In fact Pakistan appeared to be in a hurry and hence tried him before a military court. In the past all Indians arrested in Pakistan on charges of spying were brought before a civil court, but in the case of Jadhav that norm was broken.

Source: One India News, April 11, 2017


Pakistan Defence Minister Says Death Penalty For 'Spy' Kulbhushan Jadhav Is A Warning


Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif today said the death sentence handed out to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav for "spying" should serve as a warning to those "plotting" against the country.

"Those plotting against Pakistan will not be spared," Asif said.

The statement came after an army court sentenced Jadhav to death after finding him guilty of "espionage and sabotage activities" and the army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa approved his execution.

Jadhav's sentencing by a Pakistani military court was according to the law, Asif told Geo TV.

He said the death sentence handed out to Jadhav should serve as a "warning to those plotting" against Pakistan".

Asif said that Pakistan would use all constitutional force available against those acting against the sovereignty of the country.

"Soldiers and civilians of Pakistan have given sacrifices for this country and their sacrifices demand us to give a befitting reply to terrorists and those who aid and facilitate them," he said.

The defence minister further said that Jadhav's "confession" was a public document and if India raises the issue of his death sentence, Islamabad will reply to New Delhi.

"Jadhav came (to Pakistan) with the approval of the Indian government," he claimed and said there is no doubt that India was "fueling terrorism in Pakistan."

Replying to a question on dealing the issue on diplomatic and political fronts, he said that Pakistan would present the issue on every international forum.

According to Asif, the world had acknowledged Pakistan's struggle against terrorism and the country was dealing with this "menace" from both the "eastern and western front".

Pakistan sentenced Jadhav to death for carrying out espionage and sabotage activities in Balochistan and Karachi, the military's media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

India's Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and gave a demarche, which said the proceedings that have led to the sentence against Jadhav are "farcical in the absence of any credible evidence" against him.

Asif rejected the Indian stance of terming death sentence as a premeditated murder and claimed Jadhav was involved in carrying out terrorist activities in Pakistan and all legal formalities were met during his trial.

He accused India of "committing premeditated murder of the innocent people of Kashmir since last 7 decades".

He said New Delhi's stubbornness is the biggest hindrance in the way of the relationship between the 2 countries.

Source: PTI, April 11, 2017

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