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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…

Death penalty for child abduction in Egypt

Egyptian flag
Egypt’s parliament approved, Monday, a legislative amendment to toughen penalties against child abduction to death by hanging.

The House of Representatives of Egypt said in a statement it had agreed to “amend a penal code that would impose the death penalty or life imprisonment of 25 years for abducting a child if the abduction was linked with an assault or rape.”

The amendment stipulates that “any child kidnapper who abducts without circumvention or coercion shall be punished by a term of not less than 10 years. If the abduction is accompanied by a ransom request, the penalty shall be imprisonment for a term of no less than 15 years and no more than 20 years.”

The amendment also specifies that “the perpetrator of the abduction crime shall be sentenced to death or life imprisonment if linked with the crime of assaulting the kidnapped or raping him/her.”

The statement quoted the head of the Legislative Committee of the Egyptian House of Representatives, Counselor Bahaa Abu Shoka, as saying that “kidnapping people is a dangerous crime for both humans and society, and affects humanity physically and psychologically as well as it deprives them of liberty.”

He added that “the link of this crime with other crimes is very serious, including murder, theft, and sexual assault. This stimulates the perpetrators’ criminal behaviour through kidnapping to achieve financial and personal gains.”

According to the current law, “Anyone who abducts a child under the age of 16, without circumvention or compulsion, by himself or by others, shall be sentenced to 3 to 10 years’ imprisonment and a crime perpetrator who abducts a female shall be sentenced to life imprisonment if linked with the crime of sexually assaulting the kidnapped.”

According to local media reports, over the past years, Egypt has witnessed a remarkable increase in the spread of the crime of abduction and mainly that of children.

Source: Middle East Monitor, January 9, 2018


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