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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 government refuses to implement moratorium on death penalty

Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo
Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo
Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo indicated that Indonesia would continue to execute convicts when he confirmed that the government would not implement a moratorium on the death penalty despite mounting calls from human rights groups.

He hinted that there would soon be a fourth round of executions.

"We never said we would implement a moratorium," Prasetyo said. "We are considering many aspects," he added.

Prasetyo made the statement in response to a question raised by United Development Party (PPP) politician Arsul Sani, who asked him to give updates on the government's execution plans during a meeting at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Arsul asked about the fate of more than 100 death row convicts in regard to ongoing discussions between the government and lawmakers on making the death penalty an alternative sentence as stipulated in the Criminal Code (KUHP) draft revision.

The bill, which is being deliberated at the House, softens the government's stance on capital punishment as it stipulates that the punishment can be reduced to life imprisonment.

Article 89 of the bill states "the death penalty should be the last option taken to protect the public." It is elaborated further in Article 91, which says convicts may have their sentences reduced if they behave well during their imprisonment. The bill does not define the guidelines of death penalty assessments or stipulate institutions authorized to make such assessments.

"If the revised KUHP takes effect while we still have death row convicts, we will comply with this new law," Prasetyo said.

Source: The Jakarta Post, April 12, 2017

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