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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…

Juvenile Offender Faces Execution in Iran

According to the Iranian state-run news agency, Rokna, a juvenile offender identified as Farshid, 22, is facing execution after he was sentenced to death at the age of 16 for the charge of murder. There is no information available at this time regarding where Farshid is detained.

Farshid reportedly told the judge that he was a child when he committed the crime and that he has since changed for the better and realized the huge mistake he made.

According to reports, the names of Farshid's parents are not listed in his case file, only his lawyer is representing him. In a court sesson, his lawyer reportedly requested for Article 91 of the Islamic Penal Code to be implemented in client's case, however, the Judge did not agree and sentenced Farshid to death.

According to Article 91 of Iran's revised Islamic Penal Code, it is up to the presiding judge's discretion to deem the juvenile mature enough to understand the nature of the offense: "In the cases of offenses punishable by hadd or qisas, if mature people under 18 years do not realize the nature of the crime committed or its prohibition, or of there is uncertainty about their full mental development, according to their age, they shall be sentenced to the punishments prescribed in this chapter." 

The Islamic Penal Code puts the age of criminal responsibility for males at 15 and 9 for females.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran is a signatory to, the Iranian authorities have an obligation to not issue the death penalty sentence for offenses committed under the age of 18.

Source: Iran Human Rights, June 28, 2017

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