Retrial after 46 years


The world’s longest-serving death row

This man has been on death row for more than four decades has been granted a retrial by a Japanese court.
Iwao Hakamada was sentences to death in 1968 for killing his boss, the man’s wife and their two children.
Hakamada, now 78, confessed after 20 days of interrogation during which he says he was beaten. He later retracted the confessions in court.

Japan’s police traditionally rely on confessions to prosecute but critics say they are often obtained by force. (read more on bbc news)

The Shizuoka District Court suspended the death sentence and ordered a retrial for 78-year old. Hours later, Hakamada walked out of the Tokyo Detention center, escorted by his sister as dozens of journalists and supporters waited outside. Hakamada looked briefly at the crowd and got inside a car without speaking. Hakamada was not executed because of a lengthy appeals process. It took 27 years for the Supreme Court to deny his first appeal for a retrial. He filed a second appeal in 2008, and the court finally ruled in his favor on Thursday. The court said Thursday that a DNA analysis obtained by Hakamada’s lawyer suggested that investogators had fabricated evidence..(read more..abcnews)

What if this man is actually innocent? Japanese policy is known to do an intense Closed Door Interrogation. It is unbelievable but suspects are said to often be beaten or tortured by the police, for instance not letting the suspect sleep and it leads to “forced confessions”. This man was in solitary confinement for 30 years out of 48 years of incarceration. The order marks only the sixth time in Japan’s postwar history that a death row inmate has been awarded a retrial. Japan and the United States are the only two Group of Seven nations to maintain the death penalty and it retains great popularity in Japan. (read more..washingtonpost.com)

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