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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…

UN rights experts urge Iran to annul death sentence against prisoner

A group of United Nations human rights experts have called on Iran to annul the death sentence against a prisoner citing serious concerns that he was tortured in detention and did not receive a fair trial.

In a news release on Wednesday, the experts said that Iranian Kurdish prisoner Ramin Hossein Panahi, who was arrested last June for alleged membership of the Kurdish nationalist group Komala, was repeatedly beaten in detention, denied medical care and access to a lawyer, and held in solitary confinement until January.

They also expressed concern regarding his trial, which took place before the Revolutionary Court and lasted less than an hour.

"Executing Mr. Panahi, following his torture, and unfair trial and on the basis of charges that do not meet international standards for the use of death penalty, would be unconscionable," said the experts.

"We remind Iran that the only thing that distinguishes capital punishment from arbitrary execution is full respect for stringent due process guarantees."

The experts also noted that despite marks of torture on Mr. Panahi body, the court did not order an investigation, and that he was allowed only 1 meeting with his lawyer between his arrest and the trial and no family visits. There are also ongoing concerns about Mr. Panahi, and he reportedly began a hunger strike early in 2018.

The experts also expressed concern that some members of Mr. Panahi's family appeared to have been convicted in separate summary trials, and sentenced to long prison terms, in apparent reprisals for their efforts to obtain further information on his situation.

It is understood that the Supreme Court branch in Qom reaffirmed Mr. Panahi's death sentence earlier in April, and his case was due to be passed to the Office of Implementation, said the experts, his lawyer has appealed for a judicial review.

The news release noted that the experts are in dialogue with Iranian authorities regarding Mr. Panahi's situation.

The UN rights experts include Agnes Callamard, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Dainius Puras, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; and Nils Melzer, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

UN Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

Source: UN News, April 20, 2018

Prisoners Hanged in Northwestern Iran 


Hanging, Iran
A prisoner was executed at Tabriz Central Prison on murder charges. 

According to HRANA, on the morning of Tuesday, April 17, a prisoner was executed at Tabriz Central Prison on murder charges. 

The prisoner was identified as Hossein Tal'ati, 31. 

Hossein Tal'ati was executed after 6 years of imprisonment in ward 11 of Tabriz Central Prison. 

The execution of this prisoner has not been announced by the state-run media so far.

Prisoner executed at Tabriz Central Prison on murder charges



According to HRANA, on the morning of Tuesday, April 17, a prisoner was executed at Tabriz Central Prison on murder charges. The prisoner was identified as Hossein Tal’ati, 31.

Hossein Tal’ati was executed after six years of imprisonment in ward 11 of Tabriz Central Prison.

The execution of this prisoner has not been announced by the state-run media so far.

According to Iran Human Rights annual report on the death penalty, 240 of the 517 execution sentences in 2017 were implemented due to murder charges.




There is a lack of a classification of murder by degree in Iran which results in issuing a death sentence for any kind of murder regardless of intensity and intent. 

Source: Iran Human Rights, April, 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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