Japanese death row inmates sue for same-day execution notification – report

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Two death row inmates in Japan are suing the government, saying the practice of only informing detainees of their execution time a few hours in advance is “inhumane,” local media reported.

The prisoners are asking for changes and asking for redress.

The death penalty in Japan is practiced by hanging, and the practice of informing detainees just hours before the execution of the sentence has long been criticized by international human rights organizations for the stress it places on them. prisoners.

On Thursday, in what appears to be a first, two death row prisoners filed a lawsuit in a district court in the western city of Osaka, claiming the practice was illegal because it did not give prisoners time to file a complaint. objection, demanding the practice be changed and asking 22 million yen ($ 194,000) in compensation, Kyodo news agency reported on Friday.

“Death row inmates live every morning in fear that this day will be their last,” said a lawyer for the plaintiffs, quoted by the agency. “It’s extremely inhuman. “

The plaintiffs’ attorney said that no law required prisoners to be informed of their execution only on the same day and that the practice was against the penal code, Kyodo reported.

Lawyers in the case were not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters. A spokesperson for the Justice Ministry declined to comment on the case or how the death penalty is applied.

The death penalty is generally imposed for murders in Japan, and the death penalty enjoys extremely high public support. No executions took place in Japan in 2020 – the first year without an execution since 2011 – and none have yet taken place in 2021.

About 110 people are on death row in Japan, according to local media. The Justice Department was unable to immediately confirm the figures.

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