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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…

Pakistani man sentenced for rape, murder of Zainab Ansari

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Karachi, Pakistan (CNN) - A Pakistani man was sentenced to death Saturday for the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl whose killing last month led to widespread protests.

Imran Ali, 24, was found guilty by a court in Lahore on four counts of murder, abduction, rape and sodomy of a minor.

Zainab Ansari's body was found dumped in garbage close to her home in the city of Kasur, in eastern Punjab province, authorities said.

The Prosecutor General of Punjab, Eihtesham Qadir Shah, announced the court's verdict at a televised news conference. The trial lasted four days, he said.

A series of attacks on girls in Kasur over the past two years have left parents angry and afraid to let their daughters leave the house.

Zainab was taken from near her home in Kasur on January 4 while her parents were in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage. Her uncle reported her missing the next day, police said.

Speaking to CNN last month, her family recalled a girl who loved mangoes and ice cream, and who wanted to be a doctor or a teacher.

Muhammad Amin Ansari and Nusrat Amin -- the parents of Zainab Ansari -- hold up her school uniform, jacket and schoolbag.

"Allah had made her so lovely that anyone who met her instantly fell in love with her," said her father, Muhammad Amin Ansari.

Her brother said that he hadn't been able to sleep since Zainab's brutalized body had been found.

"She was so funny," Abu Zar Ansari said. "I miss her laughter, I can't forget her laughter."

Kasur district was previously at the center of a child sexual abuse scandal in which a gang of up to 25 men was accused of blackmailing scores of children into making sex videos between 2009 and 2014.

The abuse was uncovered in 2015 and a number of suspects were arrested.

Source: CNN, Sophia Saifi, February 17, 2018


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