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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…

Trump in Saudi Arabia as juveniles face execution

Ali al-Nimr
Ali al-Nimr
President Trump is preparing to visit Riyadh, as concerns grow for three Saudi juveniles who face imminent execution for attending protests.

President Trump will reportedly travel to Saudi Arabia on Friday (19th). 

International human rights group Reprieve has written to the President urging him to secure the release of three juveniles in the Kingdom who are at risk of execution, potentially by beheading – and, in one case, crucifixion.

Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon, and Abdullah al-Zaher were arrested following pro-democracy protests in 2012. They were tortured into signing false 'confessions', which were used in a secretive counter-terrorism court to convict them, and sentence them to death.

The Saudi authorities have recently executed several juveniles and alleged political protesters. One juvenile, Ali al-Ribh, was arrested in his school before being executed in January 2016, alongside 46 others.

Commenting, Maya Foa, a Director at Reprieve, said:

“As President Trump visits Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom is engaged in a shocking wave of repression that flies in the face of US values. Juveniles like Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher could be executed at any moment, simply for exercising freedom of speech. They could face a horrific execution, which could include beheading and ‘crucifixion’, just for attending protests. Other protesters have been tortured into signing false confessions, tried in secret, and then executed.

"President Trump must use his visit to send a clear message to Riyadh – he must demand the release of Ali, Dawood and Abdullah, and call on the Kingdom to halt executions of juveniles and protesters.”

2. Reprieve's letter to President Trump can be seen here

3. It was reported this morning that the Trump Administration is close to completing a series of security deals with Saudi Arabia worth around $100bn.

Source: Reprieve, May 15, 2017. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. 

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