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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: Mufti Hannan’s death penalty upheld

Mufti Abdul Hannan
Mufti Abdul Hannan
The appellate division of the Supreme Court on Sunday upheld the death penalty of three men of banned militant outfit Harkatul Jihad al Islami (HuJi), including its chief Mufti Abdul Hannan, in a case filed for the grenade attack on the then UK envoy in Bangladesh Anwar Choudhury in 2004.

A three-member bench of the Appellate Division led by chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the order after dismissing the review appeal of the HuJi chief.

On 7 December last, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty of the three HuJi men.

On 11 February last year, a High Court bench, comprising justice M Enayetur Rahim and justice Amir Hossain, delivered the verdict upholding the death sentence of three of the accused - Mufti Abdul Hannan, Sharif Shahedul Alam and Delwar Hossain - and life-term imprisonment of two others - Mufti Hannan’s brother Mohibullah and Mufti Moinuddin - handed down by the lower court.

Anwar Choudhury and 51 others were injured while three, including two police officials, were killed in a grenade attack at Hazrat Shahjalal (RA) shrine in Sylhet on 21 May 2004.

Later, two cases - one for murder and another under the Explosive Act - were filed in connection with the grenade attack.

After investigation into the case, charges were framed against four people, including Mufti Hannan, on 31 July 2007.

The Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal of Sylhet on 23 December 2008, awarded death sentence to Huji leaders Hannan, Sharif Shahedul Alam Bipul and Delwar Hossain Ripon while Mufti Muhibur Rahman (Hannan’s brother) and Mufti Mainuddin were awarded life term, and fined Tk 10,000 each in the murder case.

Source: Prothom Alo, March 19, 2017

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