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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…

Malawi: "Erase death penalty in our penal code" – Balaka chiefs

Malawi's Balaka chiefs
Chiefs in Balaka district have called on government to permanently remove death penalty in the penal code that was suspended in 2007.

According to the Chiefs, Malawi needs to respect right to life of inmates who are sentenced to death.

Speaking at the commemoration of ‘cities of life’ by Community of Saint Egidio in Balaka, Senior Chief Nsamala called on government to remove death penalty in the penal code saying the country should focus on transforming people who are sentenced to capital punishment.

“We would have loved if government had removed death penalty in our penal code, some people are sentenced to serve jail terms without committing the offense and we may kill such person because they didn’t have a lawyer to follow up the case for them to get justice,” said chief Nsamala.

Concurring with Nsamala, Inkosi Chathunya added that government must not give capital punishment saying killing does not reflect Malawi being a God- fearing nation.

Citing a Biblical story of Mose’s life, Apostle Andrew Makharamba of Destiny Ministries International in Balaka said the country must transform those sentenced to have capital punishment to be responsible citizens.

“When we read the Bible, Moses was a murderer, he killed someone in Egypt but look God used him to go and liberate the Israelites, what if he was sentenced to death penalty,” said Makharamba.

Responsible person for the Community of Saint Egidio in Balaka Potipher Magombo said the community is to ensure that Malawi has ommitted the death penalty in the penal code despite the law being declared unconstitutional.

Every year the Community of Saint Egidio commemorate the abolition of death penalty in laws of countries in the World.

This year’s commemoration were under the theme “No justice without life”.

Source: Malawi24, December 4, 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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