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Amnesty letter-writing guide
Hakamada Iwao is 77 years old. He has spent the majority of his life on death row, awaiting execution every day for a crime he claims he did not commit. New DNA evidence could reinforce his claims of innocence. Please help us to ask for a retrial for Hakamada. Demand justice for Hakamada The campaign for justice has become even more urgent because we are fearful that the new government, which swept to power in December 2012, will up the pace of executions. Three have already taken place this year, and the new Minister of Justice has publicly declared his support for the death penalty.
Hakamada’s lawyers believe these results cast doubt on Hakamada’s original conviction as they undermine crucial evidence linking him to the murders.
Believed to be the world's longest-serving death row inmate, Hakamada was tried and sentenced to death in 1968 for the deaths of four people. His conviction rested principally on the basis of a confession which he later retracted at trial. He says he was beaten and forced to confess after 20 days of intensive interrogation. One of the three judges on his case has publicly stated that he
believes Hakamada is innocent, but was outvoted by the other judges at the trial.
Executions in Japan are carried out in secret and without warning to the prisoner of family so Hakamada does not know from one day to the next when he will be executed. Psychiatric examinations have shown that Hakamada has a mental illness as a result of the many years he has spent on death row, many or which have been in solitary confinement.
2011 was the first year in two decades in which Japan did not carry out any executions. We were horrified that on 29 March 2012, the then Justice Minister Toshio Ogawa consented for three prisoners to be executed by hanging. Under a year later, on 21 February 2013, the newly elected government approved the execution of three other prisoners. We are concerned this is just the beginning.
It is important now more than ever to continue taking action and demand justice for Hakamada. Read more about our campaign for Hakamada
Use the form below to write to the Minister of Justice, Sadakazu Tanigaki, and call for Hakamada's execution to be stayed.
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