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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…

Islamic cleric Aman Abdurrahman faces death penalty over Indonesia attacks

Abdurrahman
Indonesian prosecutors today demanded the death penalty for a radical Islamic cleric who is accused of ordering attacks across the country.

Aman Abdurrahman, who police believe is a key ideologue for Islamic State militants in Indonesia, is accused of orchestrating a January 2016 suicide bombing and gun attack in the capital Jakarta that killed four civilians and four attackers.

He sat silently as the prosecution announced the sentencing demand today before a panel of five judges.

It is also believed that Abdurrahman - who also goes by the name Oman Rochman - is the de facto leader of Islamic State-inspired militant group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), according to a Fairfax report.

Police have blamed the JAD for a series of suicide bombing attacks on churches in Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, last weekend that killed at least 13 people and injured 40 others.

In that attack, members of one family - including children as young as nine - rode motorcycles into church compounds that then exploded.

Prosecution lawyer Anita Dewayani said Abdurrahman's acts had resulted in deaths and injuries and there was no reason for lenience.

It is believed Abdurrahman's instructions from prison - where he has been serving a terrorism-related sentence - also resulted in multiple other attacks, including the January 2016 attack on a Starbucks in Jakarta, an attack on a bus terminal in the capital that killed three police officers and an attack on a church in Kalimantan that killed a 2-year-old girl.

Reflecting a lack of supervision of militants in Indonesia's overcrowded prisons, Abdurrahman spread radicalism and communicated with his supporters on the outside through visitors and video calls, prosecutors said.

Abdurrahman's next hearing is set for May 25 where he and his lawyer, appointed by the court after the cleric refused to be represented, will respond to the prosecution.

In court today, police deployed dozens of elite counter-terrorism and paramilitary officers to guard the hearing at the South Jakarta District Court following the recent wave of attacks by IS-inspired militants.

Following the initial Surabaya attack on three churches on Sunday, an Indonesian police headquarters was also attacked the following day by suicide bombers from a different family.

Twelve innocent civilians were killed in the incident in which two motorbikes rode by children as young as eight were blown up outside the police building.

On Wednesday this week, a third attack occurred in Sumatra where four sword-wielding men drove a car into another police building before being shot dead.

Source: 9news.com.au, Associated Press, May 18, 2018


Surabaya bombings: Indonesian prosecutors seek death penalty for alleged spiritual leader Aman Abdurrahman


Aman Abdurrahman
Indonesian prosecutors have demanded the death penalty for the alleged spiritual leader of the group said to be responsible for the Surabaya bombings.

Aman Abdurrahman allegedly set up Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) in 2014 to bring together the Indonesian supporters of the Islamic State group.

Authorities have blamed JAD for a string of suicide bombings in the city of Surabaya this week, which killed about 30 people, including 13 of the suspected bombers.

Aman was already on trial when the bombings happened.

He is also said to be responsible for the 2016 Jakarta bombings, when eight people were killed in attacks on a Starbucks cafe and a police post nearby.

The defendant was previously sentenced to nine years in prison for training militants in Aceh and seven years behind bars for a bombing in Cimanggis, in East Java in 2004.

Prosecutor Anita Dewayani asked for the death penalty, the first time it has been requested for a terrorist case since the bombing of the Australian embassy in 2004.

"Aman Abdurrahman is not in the structure of JAD as the leader, but he was being positioned as a reference point above the Amir [ruler] of JAD" she told the court.

"We demand the south Jakarta District Court … determine that Aman Abdurrahman has been legally and convincingly proven to be guilty of terrorism … [and] to hand down the punishment of death to the defendant."

Aman spent time in the same prison as Rois, the Australian Embassy bomber on death row.

He has also given regular sermons to inmates and visitors during his time behind bars.

He is being held at the high-security Jakarta prison, where last week more than 150 inmates rioted, killing five elite Indonesian police.

During the standoff, inmates demanded to speak to Aman, and negotiators allowed the meeting.

The prison riot delayed today's court hearing.

Aman's lawyers will read his plea and defence next week.

Source: abc.news.au, David Lipson, May 18, 2018


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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning