Comment on Release of Mr. Toshikazu Sugaya (Ashikaga Incident)
Today, Mr. Toshikazu Sugaya, who is seeking a retrial, was released from a prison and regained his freedom.
The Tokyo High Public Prosecutor’s Office submitted a written opinion to the Tokyo High Court stating that because of the high probability that the results of DNA re-testing would be clear evidence for acquittal, the court should open a retrial accordingly. In response to this opinion, the Utsunomiya District Public Prosecutor’s Office granted a stay of enforcement of the sentence of Mr. Sugaya who had been serving a life sentence in the Chiba Prison.
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) believes Mr. Sugaya to be innocent and has been supporting his request for a retrial. The JFBA President made a comment on May 22, 2009, requesting the public prosecutors to accept the results of the DNA re-testing and suspend his sentence.
The JFBA commends the public prosecutors for their approval of the retrial of Mr. Sugaya and for freeing him.
The JFBA is committed to continuously providing every support to Mr. Sugaya until the Tokyo High Court immediately decides to open a retrial and he obtains a complete acquittal.
This case again has revealed that a person falsely accused can be easily coerced into making a false confession and further strengthens the demand for video recording of the entire interrogation process.
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
June 4, 2009