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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…

Number of Beheadings in Saudi Arabia Rises by 70%

Public execution in Saudi Arabia
Amid mounting criticism of Saudi Arabia over its human rights record, a new report by a nonprofit organization shows that the number of beheadings in the kingdom during the 1st quarter of 2018 rose by over 70 % compared to the same period last year.

In its latest report published Saturday, the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR) said executions by the Saudi government in the 1st quarter of 2018 increased by 72% compared to the corresponding period last year.

According to the report, a number of foreign nationals also face capital punishment in Saudi Arabia.

The report came against a backdrop of widespread criticism of the kingdom over its terrible human rights record, including the censorship of free speech, indiscriminate incarceration of citizens with no due process, or the lack of basic freedoms for women and girls.

Although the Riyadh government does not disclose any official statistics for people on death row, ESOHR has confirmed that 42 people are facing imminent execution, including 8 people who were minors at the time of the offence.

The report has also decried the Saudi regime's move to execute people for alleged offenses that do not even cross the serious crimes threshold defined by the international law, noting that the convicts have simply attended peaceful demonstrations, exercised freedom of speech, or practiced their religious rites.

Since 2008, Saudi Arabia has rejected all requests for visits by special independent rapporteurs of the United Nations, who are concerned about the kingdom's human rights violation, the report added.

In March 2017, Michel Forst, a UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights, expressed serious concerns about the situation of human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia.

Also in a report in September 2017, the UN Secretary General deplored Saudi Arabia for practicing intimidating acts such as travel bans, freezes on assets of people, and the use of torture against individuals or groups that collaborate with the UN institutions or programs.

Figures show that 146 people were decapitated in Saudi Arabia in 2017, of whom 56 were foreigners.

Only in 1 day in July 2017, Saudi Arabia killed 4 people charged with attending demonstrations.

Source: ifpnews.com, April 21, 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