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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…

Bangladesh court sentences 39 people to death for murder

A Bangladesh court Tuesday sentenced dozens of men to death for the brazen daylight murder of a ruling party official in 2014, officials said.

Ekramul Haque, the then Awami League leader in eastern Feni district, was dragged from his vehicle by a mob and hacked with machetes before being shot at point blank range.

The 47-year-old was then placed back inside his vehicle, which was torched. A number of those travelling with the local party leader were injured in the brutal assault.

Court inspector Nojibul Islam told AFP that a judge in Feni district Tuesday sentenced 39 men to death by hanging for the crime. Sixteen others were acquitted.

"We will go to appeal in the higher court against the order," said defence lawyer Rana Das Gupta.

Bangladesh has a history of delivering death sentences in mass trials.

In November, a court upheld death sentences against 139 soldiers for the grisly murders of dozens of senior army officers in a 2009 mutiny.

Last August, 10 Islamist militants were sentenced to death over a failed plot to assassinate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by detonating a bomb at one of her rallies.

Source: Agence France-Presse, March 13, 2018


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