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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…

No female prisoner executed in Bangladesh

Currently there are 37 convicted death row female prisoners. The only known execution of a woman in this region took place in 1937 in Sylhet

Since independence, Bangladesh has not carried out the death sentence of any woman convict, prisons officials say.

Even if a woman is sentenced to death, her punishment is later commuted.

The latest example is Oishee Rahman, who killed her father, Special Branch inspector Mahfuzur Rahman, and mother Swapna Rahman on August 16, 2013 at their Malibagh residence.

A Dhaka court found her guilty in 2015 and handed down maximum penalty for the cold-blooded killing. But the High Court on June 5 revised the punishment to life imprisonment.

The court cited 5 reasons for commuting her sentence: lack of motive, medical report (on her physical and mental state), mental disorder, lack of prior criminal records and surrender within 2 days of committing the crime.

According to Prisons Headquarters, there are 75,935 prisoners at various jails as of June 7 - and 1,456 of them are death row convicts.

Altogether 2,899 women are behind bars - 2,369 of them are under trial while the 533 are serving various sentences. Only 37 of them are carrying death sentences.

There are 267 children below the age of 6 with the female prisoners and detainees.

Prisons sources say the only known execution of a woman in this region took place in 1937 in Sylhet, when one Karimunnesa was hanged for murdering her husband.

Although many countries execute women prisoners, there is no such known incident in Bangladesh.

Assistant Inspector General of Prisons (administration) Md Abdullah Al-Mamun told the Bangla Tribune: "We have no information on executing female prisoners in Bangladesh. I am not aware of any such incident that might have taken place before the independence."

Source: Dhaka Tribune, June 11, 2017

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