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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…

Bangladesh to oppose gay rights and abolishment of death penalty at UN

Bangladesh flag
Bangladesh will take a strong stance against gay rights and the abolishment of the death penalty at the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council.

Last February, Bangladesh presented its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to the UN Human Rights Council. The review highlighted the country's human rights achievements and challenges from 2013-2017. The hearing of the UPR will be held on May 14.

The team representing Bangladesh will be led by Law Minister Anisul Huq. During the review Rwanda, Afghanistan, and Ukraine will be present as rapporteurs.

Regarding the matter, an official said: "Bangladesh does not believe in following popular doctrine. We sheltered the Rohingyas purely on human rights basis. This is a big challenge. Our human rights record is excellent.

"There are allegations against our country regarding human rights. We are ready to answer their questions.

"It is true that we have limitations. Every country has its limitations; the other countries want to know if we are trying to overcome it to the best of our ability."

Bangladesh first submitted a UPR in 2009. The latest UPR was submitted in 2013.

At the hearing of the 2013 UPR, several nations made 196 suggestions to Bangladesh and the country accepted 191 of them. The remaining 5 were regarding gay rights and the abolishment of the death penalty; Bangladesh did not take those suggestions.

The official also said: "37 countries of the world do not support gay rights and Bangladesh is one of them. Our society is not ready for this yet."

According to the latest report, between the years 2013-2017, several lower courts gave the execution orders to 1,119 criminals. However, the High Court stayed the execution of 130 people. Only 17 people were hanged in those 5 years.

At the hearing, the government of Bangladesh will have to answer to questions about issues such as women's rights, freedom of speech, police brutality, and extrajudicial killings.

Source: Dhaka Tribune, May 10, 2018


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