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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…

Maldives ready to carry out executions: minister

The Maldives is ready to carry out executions, local media has reported a government minister as saying, ending a six-decade moratorium on capital punishment.

Home Minister Azleen Ahmed told Raajje TV that work has been completed on building a place to carry out the death penalty and that executions will resume as soon as legal procedures are settled.

Three young men are presently on death row after the Supreme Court upheld their sentences in 2016.

Death penalty regulations specify methods of execution as lethal injection and hanging.

The government initially decided to implement the death penalty through lethal injection, but is now ready to carry out executions by hanging. 

A special unit for the purpose has been built in the high-security Maafushi prison.

President Abdulla Yameen reiterated his vow to reinstate capital punishment last August amid growing international concern.

“By God’s will…when the Supreme Court concludes [cases] to the point where the death penalty can be enforced, our mechanisms and arrangements will be complete enough to do it with the advice of the Islamic council and the word of the heirs.”

The death penalty can only be carried out should all of the murder victim’s immediate relatives (heirs) choose to take the life of a convicted killer under the Islamic principle of Qisas (retaliation in kind).

The rules on carrying out executions state the president is required to order the execution within three days of a committee signing a document endorsing the death sentence. 

The committee is comprised of the chief prosecutor, the commissioner of prisons and the chief justice.

The execution must take place within seven days of the order. The heirs of the victim are given a last opportunity to make their wishes known on the day of the execution.

Source: Maldives Independent, January 2, 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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