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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…

2 years on from mass execution, Saudi repression continues under new Crown Prince

Mohammed bin Salman
Two years since the Saudi authorities carried out a mass execution of 47 people, human rights organization Reprieve has warned of fresh repression in the Kingdom under the new Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

On 2nd January 2016, Saudi Arabia executed 47 people in one day. 

Among them were several political protesters and juveniles. 

Research by Reprieve has shown that in 2017, several smaller mass executions were carried out in the Kingdom, with 141 people executed overall. 

Some 70% of the year's executions were carried out after Mohammed bin Salman took power in June.

Reprieve has raised concerns for 14 political protesters who face imminent execution, after their death sentences were upheld in July 2017. 

The 14 were convicted on the basis of 'confessions' extracted through torture. Among them is a disabled man, Munir al-Adam, and a juvenile, Mujtaba al-Sweikat. 

The new year will see Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman being hosted in London by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Commenting, Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve, said:

“Two years on from a mass execution that saw political protesters – including children – killed, the government of Saudi Arabia shows no interest in halting a brutal wave of repression. Hundreds of people have been executed in the last two years, and now several young protesters face imminent execution on Mohammed bin Salman’s watch. The international community – including Theresa May, who is soon to host the new Crown Prince – must hold him to his promises of ‘reform’ by demanding a halt to all executions immediately.” 

Source: Reprieve, January 2, 2018


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