Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Japan: Court ordered retrial of country’s longest-serving death

Japan: Court ordered retrial of country’s longest-serving death

Japan: Court ordered retrial of country’s longest-serving death

Japan: Court ordered retrial of country’s longest-serving death

Advertisement
  • A Japanese court granted a retrial to the world’s longest-serving death row.
  • Iwao Hakamada, 87, spent nearly five decades on death row after being convicted.
  • Japan’s criminal justice system has a conviction rate of 99.9%.
Advertisement

A Japanese court granted a retrial to the world’s longest-serving death row convict on Monday, the latest twist in a legal saga that dates back to the 1960s.

Iwao Hakamada, 87, spent nearly five decades on death row after being convicted of quadruple murder in 1968. New evidence led to his release seven years ago.

According to Kiyomi Tsunagoe, a lawyer on his defence team, the Tokyo High Court ruled Monday that “Hakamada cannot possibly be identified as the culprit” because the main evidence presented to finalise his death penalty was untrustworthy.

She went on to say that the Tokyo court upheld the decision not to send Hakamada back to prison because he was likely to be found not guilty.

“Hakamada’s case is known globally, and there always remained the risk that he could be sent back to prison and face the death penalty again, despite evidence pointing to his innocence,” Tsunagoe said.

Japan‘s criminal justice system has a conviction rate of 99.9% and relies heavily on confessions. Outside of the United States, it is the only major developed democracy that uses the death penalty.

Advertisement

Hakamada was charged with robbery, arson, and the murder of his boss, his boss’ wife, and their two children in 1966. In Shizuoka, central Japan, the family was discovered stabbed to death in their incinerated home.

The former professional boxer-turned-factory worker initially pled guilty to all charges before changing his plea during the trial. Despite repeatedly alleging that police fabricated evidence and forced him to confess by beating and threatening him, he was sentenced to death in a 2-1 decision by judges. Six months later, the lone dissenting judge resigned from the bench, demoralised by his inability to prevent the sentencing.

The evidence against Hakamada was a pair of blood-splattered black trousers and his confession. The alleged motives ranged from a request murder to theft.

However, a DNA test in 2004 revealed that the blood on the clothing did not match either Hakamada or the victims’ blood type.

On the basis of his age and fragile mental state, the Shizuoka District Court ordered a retrial and released Hakamada while he awaited his day in court in 2014. However, four years later, the Tokyo High Court denied the retrial request.

The decision to retry Hakamada was made on Monday after the Supreme Court ordered the Tokyo High Court in 2020 to reconsider its previous decision not to reopen the case.

Advertisement

The court ruled Monday, according to Tsunagoe, that there was a strong possibility that investigators had planted five pieces of clothing allegedly worn by Hakamada during the 1966 murders in the miso paste tank where they were discovered.

The defence team, according to Tsunagoe, has argued that the evidence used to finalise Hakamada’s death sentence was fabricated. On Monday, the presiding judge agreed with the defence that the reddish colour of the bloodstains on Hakamada’s clothing would have turned black after several months in the miso tank, according to Tsunagoe.

Prosecutors must decide whether to appeal the retrial to the Supreme Court by next Monday. If the defence can persuade them not to, the retrial will take place at Shizuoka District Court, where Hakamada was initially tried, though the timeline remains uncertain, according to Tsunagoe.

“If prosecutors file a retrial after all these decades to the Supreme Court, it will display the extent to which Japanese justice is not functioning,” Tsunagoe said.

Also Read

Japan to assist Pakistan transport earthquake relief items to Turkiye
Japan to assist Pakistan transport earthquake relief items to Turkiye

Japan will dispatch a Self-Defense Forces (SDF) aircraft The SDF aircraft will...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Read More News On

Catch all the World News, Breaking News Event and Latest News Updates on The BOL News


Download The BOL News App to get the Daily News Update & Follow us on Google News.


End of Article

Next Story