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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…

Indonesian envoy explains execution of drug traffickers, other offenders

The Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Harry Purwanto, has said his country reserves the right under international conventions to punish certain categories of crimes with death penalty.

Purwanto told The Guardian in Abuja yesterday that there were 16 legal regulations bordering on severe crimes against the country that attract the death sentence, which include terrorism, corruption as well as trafficking in drugs and psychotropic substances.

There are also five legal stages peddlers of hard drugs and other psychotropic substances must go through before they are executed. He said Indonesia placed a moratorium on the death penalty until 2013 when it was reinstated after the drug challenge got worse with 4.5 million Indonesians undergoing rehabilitation.

The envoy added that “between 30,000 and 40,000 young Indonesians were dying because of drugs, but when President Joko Widodo was elected in 2014, he vowed not to grant clemency to anyone who was convicted of drugs in all six stages of the country’s legal process and has kept faith with that pledge.

He listed the processes drug suspects must go through before facing death to include the first court of trial, Appeal Court, Supreme Court, presidential clemency and the last stage which is a final review.

The envoy stated that Indonesia does not impose the death penalty in all cases except severe cases with serious impact on society. 

He debunked the claims that the country was a drugs hub, arguing that the hubs were elsewhere in Asia and the Americas.

On whether Nigerians are specifically targeted for execution for drugs related offences, Purwanto maintained that Indonesian laws are not discriminatory as Africans, Asians and Europeans have paid the ultimate price for trafficking in drugs in the country.

Purwanto disclosed that there are some Nigerians who have integrated into the Indonesian society and even married Indonesians but are serving 10 to 15 years in jail for drugs related offences.

Source: The Guardian, Igho Akeregha, Abuja Bureau Chief, April 6, 2017

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