Two additional executions...

15/09/2004
Press release
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The FIDH has been informed by Forum 90 (Japan) of the execution of two death row prisoners in Japan on 14 September 2004. The FIDH deeply deplores those executions.

Mamoru Takuma, a former caretaker with a history of mental illness, was condemned for stabbing to death 8 children in an elementary school in Ikeda, 20 kilometers outside of Osaka, in June 2001. Several other childrens and adults were wounded in the attack. Takuma was sentenced to death in August 2003, and the sentence became definitive in September of the same year, after Takuma withdrew an appeal to the High Court. His defense team argued that he was insane or weak-minded, but the Osaka District Court ruled that he had a personality disordered but was fully accountable for the crime.

The second person executed is Sueo Shimazaki, who was detained in Fukuoka detention center. The FIDH has no further information on his case.

“Whatever the gravity of the crime, we oppose the death penalty. Its efficiency as a deterrent has never been established and it contradicts in essence the notion of human dignity as well as the right to life”, said Sidiki Kaba, President of the FIDH.

In a report published last year, following a fact-finding mission in Japan, the FIDH concluded that in general, people condemned to the capital punishment did not benefit from a fair trial. In addition, conditions of detention on the death row could be seen as a type of torture or, at least, an inhuman and degrading treatment (see http://www.fidh.org/asie/rapport/2003/jp359a.pdf).

The UN Human Rights Committee repeatedly expressed its concerns regarding the large number of crimes punishable by the death penalty in Japan, as well as about death row conditions and harsh punitive measures implemented against inmates, lack of procedural protections in pre-trial detention procedures and the large number of convictions based on confessions.

The FIDH reiterates its call for Japan to adopt a moratorium on capital punishment and, ultimately, to abolish it.

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