Saturday, March 10, 2007

An Innocent(?) Man on Death Row in Japan for Forty Years

Different people may be shocked by the below story for different reasons.

Some people may be principally revolted by the possibility that an innocent man has been imprisoned for four decades.

Other people may be shocked to learn that a prisoner has had to face the prospect of execution for forty years.

The truth, of course, is that both things are appalling.

Japan Times Online (March 10, 2007):

One of the three Shizuoka District Court judges who in 1968 sentenced a pro boxer to hang for four murders said Friday he thought at the time the man was innocent.

The judge, Norimichi Kumamoto, 69, said he agreed to the death sentence after the two other judges involved in the case made the decision, despite having prepared a 360-page document citing reasons supporting the man's innocence.

Kumamoto, who resigned from the bench shortly after agreeing to the sentence, made the remark the day before the 71st birthday of Iwao Hakamada, who has been on death row for over 40 years, during which time he has sought a retrial for the murder of a family of four Shimizu in June 1966.

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