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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…

Iran: Two executed on murder charges, one in public

Public hanging in Salmas, Iran January 11, 2018
A prisoner who was charged with murdering 7 members of his wife's family was hanged in public in front of a crowd in Salmas.

According to a report by ISNA, on the morning of Thursday January 11, a prisoner was executed in public in Salmas, Salmas, West Azerbaijan Province, Iran. 

The prisoner was sentenced to public execution 5 times, 148 lashes, and 14 years in prison on the charge of murdering 7 members of his wife's family on May 17, 2017.

"The prisoner's name was Hossein Eskandarzadeh and he had been suffering from mental illness for years," Told a close source to Iran Human Rights (IHR). 

This is the 1st public execution in 2018.

Prisoner hanged at Qazvin Central Prison on murder charges


According to a report by Rokna, on Wednesday, January 10, a prisoner was executed at Qazvin Central Prison. 

The prisoner, identified as Sae'ed, was sentenced to death on the charge of murdering a man in Zaqeh Village in Abyek.

"I was in my shop when Ahmad came by. We drove toward a piece of land that I had sold him -but annulled the contract later. He was mad at me for selling the lot to someone else for a higher price. So we got into a fight in the car, and he tried to hit me with something he took out of the dashboard. I took it from him and hit him twice in the neck, but then I realised that he was bleeding and I got scared and escaped," said the defendant in his defence.

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 a death sentence for any degree of murder regardless of intensity and intent.

Source: Iran Human Rights, January, January 12, 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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