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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…

Iran: Juvenile Offender Mohammad Reza Haddadi at Imminent Risk of Execution

Iran, executing juvenile offenders
Iran Human Rights (Apr 13, 2018): Mohammad Reza Haddadi, a juvenile offender who was arrested for murder during a robbery at the age of 15, is in danger of execution.

According to a close source, prison authorities have told Mohammad Reza Haddadi’s father that if they fail to obtain the consent of the plaintiff, their son might be executed very soon.

Mohammad Reza Haddadi, currently held at Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz, was born on March 17, 1988, and has been in jail since 2002. He is convicted of murder during a robbery along with three other people. 

Haddadi had pleaded guilty at first, but later he explained that his friends promised him some money to admit the charge because he was a minor and he wouldn’t receive a death penalty.

The juvenile offender’s lawyer, Hossein Ahmadi Niaz, told Iran Human Rights, “Last year, we were able to delay the execution. The Supreme Court has to apply Article 91 which states that if a juvenile confesses, it should be made clear to him that what would be the consequences. It means the juvenile must be fully aware of his confession and the consequences. A judge in Branch 101 of the criminal court of Kazerun refused to apply Article 91 and claimed that the juvenile was certain about his confession. Whereas, the forensics should decide whether the defendant was mature or not and whether he understood the consequences of his actions. If the judge had accepted our request, we could have saved Mohammad Reza Haddadi.”

The lawyer continues, “I asked the head of the Judiciary to permit the review of the case because there are some pieces of evidence which prove the defendant is innocent. Mohammad Reza comes from a poor family, and the other three deceived him. He only made that confession because he was ignorant and he needed the money they promised him for his family.”

It is worth mentioning that the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran has signed, clearly bans execution and life imprisonment of juveniles.

In 2017, at least five juvenile offenders were executed in Iran. Furthermore, at least three juvenile offenders were executed in January 2018 in Iran.

Source: Iran Human Rights, April 14, 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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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning