Japan: Death row inmate, 75 today, should be granted a stay of execution
Posted: 10 March 2011
A man believed to be the world’s longest serving death row inmate, who has spent the last 43 years on death row and is 75 today, should be granted a stay of execution, removed from death row and his case reviewed, Amnesty International said today.
Amnesty International and the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) today called on the Minister of Justice to grant a stay of execution for Hakamada Iwao in accordance with Article 479 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and for him to be taken off death row. Article 479 provides for a person to be granted a stay of execution in cases where the person is found to be suffering from mental illness.
Clare Bracey, Death Penalty Campaigner for Amnesty International UK, said:
“Having been locked away on death row for the last 43 years, with over half of that time spent in solitary confinement, and not knowing if each day might be his last, it is no wonder that Hakamada Iwao is suffering from physical and mental ill health.
“International law prohibits the execution of people with mental health issues, and Hakamada's case typifies the worst consequences of Japan's justice system
“The Japanese authorities should grant him a stay of execution in accordance with the law and review all similar cases."
Hakamada Iwao, has been on death row since 1968. He was convicted after an unfair trial of the 1966 murder of the managing director of the factory where he worked, and the man's wife and two children.
Within months of the finalisation of his death sentence, Hakamada began to show signs of seriously disturbed thinking and behaviour. The Prison authorities have refused access to Hakamada’s medical records, even to his family members and his legal representatives. Hakamada’s mental health condition continues to be of concern.
Hakamada confessed after 20 days of interrogation by police without a lawyer present but later retracted his confession saying that he had been beaten and threatened during the interrogations. One of the judges who convicted Hakamada, Kumamoto Norimichi, stated publicly in 2007 that he believed Hakamada was innocent, but that he had been outvoted in the decision.
AIUK : Japan: Death row inmate, 75 today, should be granted a stay of execution