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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…

Pakistan hangs 2 terrorists involved in Peshawar school massacre

Pakistan today hanged 2 hard core Taliban terrorists convicted by the military courts of their involvement in the 2014 Peshawar school massacre which left over 150 people dead, mostly students.

Pakistan Army said Atta Ullah and Taj Muhammad were active members of the proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and had facilitated the terrorists who attacked the Army-run school in Peshawar in December 2014.

"These terrorists were involved in committing heinous offences relating to terrorism, including attack on Army Public School Peshawar, killing of innocent civilians, attacking Armed Forces of Pakistan and Law Enforcement Agencies," army said.

The terrorists had been tried by military courts and had confessed to their crimes before a magistrate and trial court, it said.

Earlier in December 2015, 4 terrorists involved in the Peshawar school attack were executed in Kohat jail in the restive Khyber-Pakhtunkwa province.

Military courts, which were restored in March for another 2 years after their initial 2-year term expired in January, work in secrecy due to fear of attacks by militants.

The courts were set up after a constitutional amendment following the Peshawar terror attack.

Human rights group Justice Project Pakistan says over 440 people have been executed since the Peshawar attack.

Pakistan has been fighting various extremist groups for over a decade. Militant attacks have killed tens of thousands of people.

The military courts have handed down the death penalty to more than 170 militants.

Source: Press Trust of India, May 24, 2107

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