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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…

Afghan national executed in Eastern Iran

Public execution, Iran
Iran Human Rights (Jan 3 2018): Official sources reported that the number of executions at Mashhad Central Prison on Sunday has risen to two.

According to Mashregh News, a young man who was arrested and sentenced to death for murder at the age of 19 was hanged at Mashhad Central Prison on the morning of Sunday December 31. 

The boy was an Afghan citizen and he was arrested and sentenced to death for murdering his fellow countryman in Mashhad on May 24, 2014.

The official media had previously reported the execution of another prisoner at the same prison on murder charges.

According to Iran Human Rights annual report on the death penalty, 142 of the 530 execution sentences in 2016 were implemented due to murder charges. 

There is a lack of a classification of murder by degree in Iran which results in issuing death sentence for any kind of murder regardless of intensity and intent.

Source: Iran Human Rights, January 4, 2018


Iran Hangs 18-Year-Old Boy Convicted Of Murder When He Was 16


Amir Hossein Pojahedfar
Reports from Iran say an 18-year-old man who was convicted of raping and killing a child when he was 16 has been hanged, despite calls by United Nations rights officials and Amnesty International to stop the execution.

Gholamhossein Esmaili, judiciary chief for Tehran Province, said that the execution took place on the morning of January 4, according to local media.

Amirhossein Pourjafar was sentenced to death in September 2016 after being convicted of the rape and murder of a 6-year-old girl from Iran's Afghan community.

Pourjafar had originally been scheduled to be executed in October, but the execution was postponed following international pressure.

"The Iranian authorities must immediately halt the execution of this juvenile offender and annul the death sentence against him in compliance with their international obligations," Asma Jahangir and Agnes Callamard, 2 UN special envoys, said in a joint statement on January 3.

Amnesty International also called on Tehran to halt putting Pourjafar to death, saying that Iran was a signatory to an international treaty banning the execution of people who commit crimes under the age of 18.

Iran applies the death penalty for crimes including rape, homosexuality, murder, and drug trafficking, as well as apostasy.

Source: rferl.org, January 4, 2018


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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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