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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…

Egypt: Final Verdict to Execute Six Defendants for Storming Police Station

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Egypt's Court of Cassation upheld on Saturday death penalty for six loyalists of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group over attacking a police station in the southern province of Minya in 2013.

According to the court, the convicts stormed a police station in Minya's Matay town, stole the weapons inside, killed a senior policeman, attempted to murder others, allowed detainees to escape and finally set fire to the police station.

It also reduced the execution verdicts against three defendants to 25-year imprisonment, upheld the 25-year jail for 59 defendants and acquitted 47 others.

The rulings are final and unappealable as they have been issued in response to a previous appeal by the defendants against the initial rulings of a criminal court.

Being supporters of ousted former President Mohamed Morsi, the convicts committed the acts of violence following the massive security dispersal of two major pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo and nearby Giza in August 2013 that left hundreds dead and thousands arrested.

In August 2017, the Minya Criminal Court sentenced 12 people to death, 119 to life imprisonment, two to 10 years in prison and acquitted 238 at the end of retrial.

The prosecution had referred the defendants to the criminal court after accusing them of taking part in illegal armed protests and assaulting police officers after storming Matay police station and killing its deputy chief.

The terrorists were charged with committing terrorist and violent acts and possessing weapons to sabotage state institutions.

Source: aawsat.com, April 29, 2018


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