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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…

Iraq sentences Islamic State's "chemical emir" to death

Iraq's Central Criminal Court sentenced Sunday a prominent Islamic State chemical warfare developer to death, convicting him of developing some of the group's deadliest weapons.

In a statement on Sunday, Abdul-Sattar Beraqdar, a spokesman of the Supreme Judicial Council, said Zeyad Tarek, who had joined militant activity in 2003, was sentenced to death based on the Iraqi counter-terrorism law.

He said the convict had confessed to developing toxic weapons for the Islamic State, and had admitted using a chicken coop he owned for the purpose of manufacturing the weapons.

Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council had previously published an interview with Tarek, in which it revealed that the convict was arrested in Lebanon after an intelligence operation that succeeded in retaking him back to Iraq. He was ambushed outside an embassy in Lebanon where he was applying for asylum.

Tarek, who the militants had nicknamed the "chemicals emir", said that one of the rockets he had developed could fire for a 20-kilometer range. 

The council's paper said several militants arrested for manufacturing chemical weapons and booby-traps had pointed during interrogations to Tarek's facility.

Iraqi and international agencies had occasionally reported suspected chemical attacks by IS militants during the government's U.S.-backed military campaign against the group in Mosul, its former capital which Iraqi forces recaptured early July.

Source:  iraqinews.com, September 9, 2017


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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