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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…

UN: Belgium mobilized again against death penalty

Brussels
Belgium will host next year (February 2019) the seventh world congress against the death penalty, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the UN adoption of a protocol aiming the abolition of the death penalty, announced Wednesday the Belgian minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders at the tribune of the UN Council for human rights.

Though this fight is general, Wednesday in Geneva, Belgium co-presided with the NGO “Together against death penalty” an event on the theme Africa, “the next abolitionist continent?”

At the same time, the country is one of those which are urging Iran to commute the death sentence pronounced against VUB’s guest Professor Ahmadreza Djalali, whom Teheran accuses of having collaborated with Israel in the assassination of two persons in charge of the Iranian nuclear program a few years ago.

Mr. Reynders did not pronounce Mr. Djalali’s name at the UN tribune. “It would have been counterproductive in that place, in relation to our bilateral efforts,” he explained at the end of his speech.

Being a candidate for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council in 2019 and 2020, Belgium also said it was prepared to reinforce its financing of this jurisdiction, and of the High Commission (HCDH).

In his address, Mr. Reynders gave indeed strong support to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, in his denunciation of States’ shortages.

“This concerns, for example, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the violent acts against peaceful worshipers and demonstrators, and the obstacles to fundamental freedom strongly challenge us,” the head of Belgian diplomacy explained.

The minister mentioned the DRC among other countries (Syria, Yemen, Burundi, Myanmar), where fundamental principles such as the protection of civilians in military conflicts, the sanctity of hospitals and schools, and access to humanitarian assistance are being “scoffed at on a large scale.” 

Source: The Brussels Times, Oscar Schneider, March 1, 2018


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but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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