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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…

UAE: Death sentence upheld for Abu Dhabi boy rapist

The convict, who was termed by the Public Prosecution as “a wild beast”, was identified as Mohsen Bilal, 34, from Pakistan.
The court also ordered the killer to pay Dh200,000 in blood money to the child's family.

Mohsen Bilal, 34, the Pakistani man, who was convicted of strangling a 11-year-old boy to death after raping him at the rooftop of their Abu Dhabi building, will be executed, according to the latest court ruling.

The Abu Dhabi Appeal Court on Tuesday upheld an earlier verdict by the Criminal Court of First Instance which handed the death sentence to the 33-year-old man after he was found guilty of murder, rape and a number of other charges. The court also ordered the killer to pay Dh200,000 in blood money to the child's family.

"The defendant has been found guilty of all the charges against him and the court has upheld the ruling and sentences by the Criminal Court of First Instance," said the Abu Dhabi Appeal Court judge while issuing the ruling.

The Pakistani boy - identified as Azan Majid - was found missing on June 1, 2017, after he went to a nearby mosque to pray. His body was found the next day on the rooftop of the building on the Muroor Road where he was staying with his father and stepmother.

The court records stated that the boy was sexually abused and strangled to death with a rope by the Pakistani national, who is also related to the child.

Police revealed that the man cross-dressed to carry out the attacks on the child, after luring the boy into going with him to the rooftop of the building.

The Abu Dhabi Public Prosecution had charged the Pakistani with premeditated murder, raping the child, cross-dressing and driving a car without a number plate.

The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance in November last year found the Pakistani man guilty on all counts and he was sentenced the death penalty.

The man, however, challenged the ruling denying the charges and stressing that he was wrongly convicted.

During a recent appeal court hearing, he pleaded not guilty.

The lawyer representing him also told court that the man was innocent and that prosecutors had not presented sufficient evidence to convict his client.

The appeal court judge, however, rejected the claims and maintained the first ruling based on evidence presented by the prosecutors.

The boy's parents, including his Pakistani father and Russian mother, refused to take blood money from the defendant when the appeal court consulted them and insisted on the death penalty for the killer.

The Pakistani man can still go on to challenge the execution sentence in the Court of Cassation.

Source: Khaleej Times, Ismail Sebugwaawo, April 17, 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