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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…

Iraq Shelves Death Sentence Of German Woman Who Joined IS

IS female militants
An Iraqi court has lifted the death penalty handed to a German woman for belonging to the Islamic State jihadist group, sentencing her to life in prison instead, German foreign ministry sources said Tuesday.

The German woman of Moroccan origin, identified by German media as Lamia K., was condemned to death by hanging in January for providing “logistical support and helping the terrorist group to carry out crimes”.

“The foreign ministry confirms that the death penalty against a German citizen in Iraq was commuted to a life sentence. The verdict is not yet final,” a ministry source told AFP.

The woman continues to receive consular assistance from the German embassy in Baghdad, the source added.

Lamia K. left Germany with her two daughters in 2014 to join IS.

One of the daughters was killed while with the jihadists, a judicial source told AFP.

Lamia K. and her other daughter were arrested by Iraqi forces during the final stages of the battle to oust IS from its stronghold Mosul last July.

According to German news agency DPA, the commutation of her death penalty comes after Lamia K. appealed the verdict. An Iraqi life sentence usually translates to 20 years in jail, or 15 years with good behaviour, DPA added.

While hundreds of foreign suspected jihadists are being held by Iraqi authorities, Lamia K. was believed to have been the first European woman sentenced to death in the country for links to IS.

Her surviving daughter, in her early 20s, was given a one-year jail term for illegal entry into Iraq, Die Welt daily reported.

In February, a 17-year-old German teenager was sentenced to six years in prison for membership of IS and illegally crossing into Iraq.

Iraqi authorities announced the defeat of IS last December after a gruelling three-year battle.

Source: Agence France-Presse, April 24, 2018


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