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Comments on the Decision by the Supreme Court on Retrial Case filed by Mr. Iwao HAKAMADA


Yesterday, the Second Petty Bench of the Supreme Court rejected special complaint for retrial filed by Mr. Iwao HAKAMADA.


In the HAKAMADA case, the defendant was sentenced to death relied upon five clothing items as conclusive evidence which was found, a year after the perpetration and during the initial trial at the first instance court, in a Miso (soybean paste) tank near the site and also based on his confession as material evidence which was extorted through long-term and coercive interrogations while being detained in Daiyo Kangoku (police station cell). However, the clothing items were questionable as there were many unreasonable points raising doubts on whether they were worn by the perpetrator at the scene and on whether they belonged to the defendant as well as suspicion for fabrication. During retrial proceedings, new evidence with respect not only to questionable five clothing items but also to the knife claimed to have been used for stubbing victims and to injuries of victims have been produced. It was eagerly expected for the Supreme Court to overturn the wrongful dismissal of the petition for retrial by the Shizuoka District Court and by the Tokyo High Court and to open retrial procedure. Nevertheless, it is to be extremely deplored that the Supreme Court ruled that there is no reasonable doubt cast against fact-finding of the final conviction, therefore, that


the petition for retrial is unsustainable.


The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA), which has been supported Mr. HAKAMADA shortly after a petition for retrial was filed in 1981, is unable to accept this decision by the Supreme Court and will continue supporting him to rectify the miscarriage of justice in capital case. In addition, the JFBA further strives to abolish  Daiyo Kangoku which is a nest of unlawful interrogations and to realize video recordings of the entire process of interrogations in order to achieve the institutional reform of the criminal justice system to prevent miscarriage of justice.


Seigoh Hirayama
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
March 25, 2008


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