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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…

Kuwait: Seven sentenced to death over rape of handicapped boy

Execution in Kuwait in April 2013
Execution in Kuwait in April 2013
Victim, 13, was abducted, taken to rented chalet and filmed during rape

Manama: Kuwait’s Court of Appeals has sentenced seven defendants to death by hanging for kidnapping a 13-year-old mentally-retarded boy and raping him, overturning a ten-year jail sentence by a lower court.

The defendants, aged between 18 and 23, abducted the boy, beat him, threatened to kill him and took him to a chalet they had rented in the southern part of the country where they raped him.

Defendants used their mobiles to record the rape, Kuwaiti daily Al Anba reported on Thursday.

A report in Kuwait said that the victim was in the custody of his sister as their parents were abroad for medical treatment when the abduction and rape occurred.

The Criminal Court in April had sentenced the four Kuwaitis, one Iraqi, one Yemeni and one stateless person to 10 years in jail for abducting and raping the victim.

The court also ordered the confiscation of their mobile phones.

Challenge


However, both the defendants and the public prosecution challenged the verdict and the case was referred to the Court of Appeals that issued its ruling on Wednesday.

The case will now be referred to the Court of Cassation, the highest court in the country for a final ruling that cannot be challenged.

Executions are rare in Kuwait, but in January seven convicts — two Kuwaitis, two Egyptians, a Bangladeshi, a Filipina and an Ethiopian — were executed after they were found guilty in cases of premeditated murder, rape or theft.

The seven were hanged in application of the verdicts pronounced by courts and upheld by the Court of Appeals and the Court of Cassation and endorsed by the Emir.

They were the first to be executed since 2013.

Source: Gulf News, June 1, 2017

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