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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…

Saudi Arabia Confirms Death Sentence of 14 Activists from Qatif

Saudi's Supreme Court in Riyadh confirmed death penalty for 14 activists from Qatif over taking part in protests in 2011.

Human rights sources reported that the suspects were not able even to appoint a lawyer, noting that all their confessions were under torture and abuse.

To be implemented, the execution warrant must be approved by the Saudi king, Salman Bin Abdulaziz.

Families of the suspects say their sons attended confidential trials, stressing that the sentences were based on force confessions.

Peaceful demonstrations erupted in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province in February 2011, with protesters demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners and an end to widespread discrimination against people of the oil-rich region. 

Several people have been killed and many others have been injured or arrested during the demonstrations.

International rights bodies, including Amnesty International, have repeatedly criticized Saudi Arabia for its grim human rights record, arguing that the number of executions in oil-rich country has dramatically risen in the last years.

Source: almanar.com.lb, May 27, 2017

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