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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…

Bahrain: Death sentence in teacher’s death case upheld

Manama, Bahrain
Manama: Bahrain’s Cassation Court on Monday upheld the death sentence for one defendant and life in prison for another on charges of a terror attack that caused the death of a female teacher.

The court ruled the revocation of their Bahrain citizenship and the payment of 1,544 Bahrain dinars (Dh14,704.2) for the damages they caused by exploding the bomb.

The court also upheld the prison sentences of three years against seven defendants as ruled by the High Criminal Court and endorsed by the Court of Appeals.

The acquittal of one suspect was also upheld by the Court of Appeals and the Court of Cassation.

According to the case documents, the second defendant, a fugitive in Iran with links to elements in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and a leader in the Saraya Al Ashtar terror brigade, in 2014 suggested to the first defendant the formation of a group in Bahrain to carry out attacks in the kingdom.

He offered him the possibility to be trained by the Revolutionary Guard and be ready for attacks that would undermine the state and the political regime.

In 2015, the first defendant reportedly agreed and went on May 2 to Iran where he met the second defendant who took him to a Revolutionary Guards-run camp.

According to the documents, he was given theoretical and practical training for eight days and returned to Bahrain to prepare attacks.

He was supplied with a Kalashnikov rifle that he kept in his home while preparing an attack on a police patrol.

The group decided to plant a device by a highway south of the capital Manama and explode it as a police patrol would be passing by.

On June 30, 2016, the first defendant placed the bomb under a billboard and went on the roof of a nearby building to monitor the situation.

As he saw a police car come closer, he used a remote control to explode the device, the case documents said.

However, the explosion missed the police car and a woman, Fakhriya Musallam Ahmad, a 42-year-old high schoolteacher who was driving her car in the area was killed in the blast after she suffered fatal injuries to her head. It was a lucky escape for her children who were with her in the car.

Following the explosion, the main defendant fled the area and hid away with the complicity of the other accused.

Investigations led to the arrest of the suspects and in June 2017, the High Criminal Court sentenced the first defendant to death, the second defendant to life in prison, and the third, fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth defendants to three years in jail.

The sixth accused, the sister-in-law of the first defendant, was acquitted as the law regarding harbouring suspects did not fully apply to close relatives.

The first and second defendants were told to pay BD497 for damages to the car of the victim, BD150 for damages to a shop, BD527 for damages to a car showroom and BD380 for damages to a company.

The defendants challenged the ruling, but the Court of Appeals upheld it. The second defendant did not appeal the verdict as he was not in Bahrain.

Source: Gulf News, February 26, 2018


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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning