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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…

Pakistan executes 4 terrorists convicted by military courts

Pakistan Wednesday hanged 4 "hardcore" terrorists convicted of "heinous" terrorism-related offences by controversial military courts in the restive northwestern province, taking the number to over 160 since the Peshawar terror attack in 2014.

The terrorists belonging to a banned outfit were executed in a jail in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, the worst hit due to violence by Taliban terrorists.

"They were involved in committing heinous offences relating to terrorism, including killing of innocent civilians, destruction of educational institutions, attacking Armed Forces of Pakistan and Law Enforcement Agencies," the army said.

It said the terrorists were awarded death sentence by the military courts which work in secrecy due to fear of attacks by militants.

Military courts were restored in March for another 2 years after their initial 2-year term expired in January.

The courts were set up after a constitutional amendment following a terror attack on an Army-run school in Peshawar in December 2014 which killed more than 150 people, most of them students.

Human rights group Justice Project Pakistan says 441 people have been executed since the Peshawar attack.

Pakistan has been fighting various extremist groups for over a decade. Militant attacks have killed tens of thousands of people.

The military courts have handed down the death penalty to more than 160 militants.

Source: business-standard.com, May 17, 2017

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