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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…

Australian arrested in Bali on drug charges

Three men arrested on unrelated drug charges in Bali were paraded for the media on Tuesday. From left: an Australian, an American and a Malaysian. Photo: Amilia Rosa
Bali: Australian accountant Isaac Emmanuel Roberts has been arrested after he was allegedly caught with drugs at Bali's international airport.

Customs authorities said the 35-year-old from Queensland was arrested after arriving from Bangkok with 19 grams of shabu, a slang term for the drug amphetamine, and ecstasy pills.

Customs officer Husni Syaiful said the Australian would face charges of importing more than five grams of drugs under article 113. Under Indonesian law the maximum punishment is the death penalty and the minimum five years' jail.

The man and two other foreigners from Malaysia and the US were paraded before the media on Tuesday wearing orange jumpsuits with balaclavas over their heads at Ngurah Rai customs office, near Bali's international airport. Their arrests were unrelated.

They were flanked by two customs officer dressed in dark blue, their faces also hidden, who were armed with guns.

Roberts, who was born in Toowoomba, was arrested on December 4 and has been detained by police ever since.

As he was escorted out, Roberts told the media the drugs were his but he had been set up.

"I was invited to this country by someone who was working with the customs officer and they knew I was going to bring something," he said.

"I'm just a f.....g addict, they want to waste their resources on addicts. They want to punish addicts, this is ridiculous. What about the f…..g importers? I wasn't going to sell it to anyone here, noone was going to use it here." 

Roberts said: "This is an embarrassment for the Indonesian police. They are parading small-time users in front of media for tiny amounts when there are kilos going through this airport. This is ridiculous."

According to a press release, the Australian, who was referred to using the initials IER, was caught with five packets of clear crystal meth, weighing 19.97 grams and 14 tablets of 6.22 grams. Rapid narcotics tests tested positive to amphetamines and ecstasy.

It said he had hidden the drugs in several packages of contraception inside a clear plastic bag. This was placed in his luggage and backpack.

The death penalty is legal in Indonesia, which has notoriously harsh drug laws.

In 2015 Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, who were members of the so-called Bali nine, were executed for their role in attempting to smuggle 8.3 kilograms out of Indonesia in April 2005.

However Roberts only allegedly imported a relatively small amount of drugs. Previous similar cases have not incurred the death penalty.

Roberts is now being processed by police at Denpasar police station. His case will then be handed over to prosecutors to prepare for trial. It is likely he will soon be transferred to Kerobokan jail.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, Jewel Topsfield, December 19, 2017


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