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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…

Alarming escalation of executions in Iran in July

Watching a public hanging in Iran
Watching a public hanging in Iran
July saw many violations of human rights in Iran, the most important being:

-- The number of executions reaching to a peak of 102 and the pending execution of 120 inmates to be carried out soon,

-- Foreign diplomats tour of Evin prison under the pressure of the increasing wave of international criticism at Iran's human rights violations, especially in its prisons.

At a time when the move towards the abolition of the death penalty is spreading around the world, Islamic Republic of Iran insists on executions which clearly are in contravention the international human rights law.

Iran alone accounted for 55% of all recorded executions in 2016; Amnesty International says.

239 executions were carried out in Iran in the 1st 6 months of 2017. Among them were 7 women and 3 individuals who were under the age of 18 at the time they allegedly committed the offence they were sentenced to death for. 12 executions were carried out in public.

Seeking to rein in increasing protests and the abhorrence of the younger generation in cities across the country, the Iranian regime has intensified the crackdown on society through increasing the wave of executions. The month of July alone saw 103 executions from which 7 were made public by media press. This shows how the state of human rights had been deteriorated during the past month.

Tour of Tehran's notorious Evin prison


Under the pressure of the rising tide of protests against the situation of human rights in Iran, the Iranian government took the ambassadors of 50 foreign countries for a tour of the notorious Evin prison in Tehran on July 5, 2017 to judge for themselves how the state treats prisoners. Ahead of the visit, some prisoners in building 4 were also transferred to create an illusion of humane living conditions. Walls were freshly repainted and the remaining prisoners warned against approaching the diplomats to voice any concerns they might have.

Inside Tehran's Evin Prison
Inside Tehran's Evin prison
Unsurprisingly many areas of the prison remained off limits to the foreign delegates. They were only granted access to a handful of sections in buildings 4 and 7, mostly housing wealthier prisoners convicted of financial crimes.

The PR show was preceded by an absurd claim made the day before, by Javad Larijani, an Iranian regime's human rights official, indicating that there were no political prisoners in Iran. After the foreign diplomats' visit to Evin, the Iranian state media outlets followed suit, pumping reports claiming that Iran's biggest jail had been upgraded to state-of-the-art conditions.

The orchestrate display however was quickly exposed to show its true face by prisoners- men and women who experience torture and hard prison conditions on a daily basis in this notorious prison.

A number of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience addressed open letters to the ambassadors who recently visited Evin Prison. They wrote about issues that had been concealed by the Iranian regime's authorities during their visit.

The sequel of events makes complete sense. The orchestrated tour of Evin by foreign diplomats, without any human rights organization or expert accompanying them, was an attempt on the part of the regime to debunk growing international criticism of Iran's human rights violations, especially in its prisons.

This report, attempts to shed light on the truth about the tragic situation of human rights in Iran.

Source: Iran Human Rights Monitor, August 1, 2017


Iran: Prisoner Hanged in Public in Front of Large Crowd


A prisoner was hanged in public in Iran while a large crowd of people watched.

Iran Human Rights (August 1 2017): A prisoner by the name of Hossein Sarooki was hanged in public in the city of Juybar on murder charges.

According to the state-run news agency, Jouybaran, the execution was carried out on the morning of Tuesday August 1 in front of a crowd of five thousand people.

An informed source tells Iran Human Rights that Hossein Sarooki was 28 years of age at the time of his execution and was transferred to solitary confinement at Ghaem Shahr Prison on Monday in preparation for his execution.

Photos of the execution (via Iran Human Rights):




Medieval and barbaric: Sharia-prescribed punishments




Source: Iran Human Rights, August 1, 2017

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