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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…

Indonesia sentences 8 Taiwanese drug smugglers to death

Taiwanese defendants
8 Taiwanese drug smugglers were sentenced to death by an Indonesian court Thursday (April 26) after being nabbed with around a tonne of crystal methamphetamine in a country that has some of the world's toughest anti-drug laws.

The men were arrested during raids last July, when the drug network's suspected leader was killed in a shootout with Indonesian police.

"The defendants have been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of colluding and smuggling narcotics," presiding judge Haruno Patriadi said as he passed sentence at the South Jakarta District Court.

Tipped off by their Taiwanese counterparts, Indonesian police said they discovered some 1,000 kilograms of crystal meth - shipped by boat from China - packed inside about 50 boxes. The haul was reportedly worth some US$144 million (S$191 million).

Some of the suspects were arrested at a beach where the drugs were delivered some 125 kilometres west of Jakarta, while others were apprehended in the suspected drug boat near Singaporean waters.

The sentence passed on the men - Liao Guan-Yu, Chen Wei-Cyuan, Hsu Yung-Li, Juang Jin Sheng, Sun Kuo Tai, Sun Chih-Feng, Kuo Chun Yuan, and Tsai Chih Hung - comes after 11 other Taiwanese drug smugglers were executed in Indonesia in recent years.

Indonesia has some of the world's toughest anti-drug laws, with sentences including the death penalty for smugglers who carry 5 or more grammes.

Several foreign and Indonesian nationals have been executed by firing squad in recent years for drug trafficking, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in 2015, a case that sparked diplomatic outrage and a call to abolish the death penalty.

Source: Agence France-Presse, April 26, 2018


3 Taiwanese get death for smuggling 1 ton of crystal meth


flagA panel of judges at the South Jakarta District court handed down the death penalty on Thursday to 3 Taiwanese standing trial for their roles in smuggling crystal methamphetamine in July last year.

The 3 were identified as Liao Guan Yu, Chen Wei Cyuan and Hsu Yung Li.

"The defendants have been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," presiding judge Efendi Mukhtar read out the verdict.

While there was no mitigating factor to hand down a lighter sentence, the judge said the crime had contravened government efforts to fight illegal drugs and could harm the country's future generations.

According to a statement in the previous hearing, the three men were waiting in Anyer Beach in the province of Banten for the 5 other suspects to offload the amphetamines from a Taiwanese yacht. The police said the drugs weighed 1 metric ton and were worth Rp 2 trillion (US$143.9 million).

The 3 remained silent when a translator delivered the judge's verdict.

The court will issue another verdict to the other 5 in a separate hearing on Thursday.

Source: The Jakarta Post, April 26, 2018


Five Taiwanese crewmen get death penalty in drug smuggling case


The South Jakarta District Court has sentenced five yacht crewmen to death for their roles in smuggling 1 ton of drugs.

The five defendants were identified as Juang Jin Sheng, Sun Kuo Tai, Sun Chih Feng, Kuo Chun Yuan and Tsai Chih Hung.

In a separate hearing, the court also handed down death sentences to three other Taiwanese in the case named Liao Guan Yu, Chen Wei Cyuan and Hsu Yung Li.

The court found them guilty of violating articles 114 and 132 of Law No.35/2009 on narcotics.

The judge maintained that the committed crime could put the lives of future generations at risk.  

The three men were waiting on Anyer Beach, Banten while the five defendants unloaded crystal methamphetamine from the yacht.

The police said the drugs were worth Rp 2 trillion (US$143.9 million), making it was one of the biggest drug smuggling attempts in the country's history.

The defendants can still appeal the sentence.

Source: The Jakarta Post, April 26, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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