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Iran: The death penalty is an inhumane punishment for death row prisoners, their families and society as a whole

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"Whether guilty or not, the outcome of the death penalty is the same. In Iran, the death penalty is by hanging, and it takes from several agonising seconds to several harrowing minutes for death to occur and for everything to be over."

Every year several hundred people are executed by the Iranian authorities.
According to reports by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and other human rights groups, death row prisoners have often no access to a defence lawyer after their arrest and are sentenced to death following unfair trials and based on confessions extracted from them under torture. 
These are issues which have been addressed in IHR’s previous reports. The current report is based on first-hand accounts of several inmates held in Iran's prisons and their families. The report seeks to illustrate other aspects of how the death penalty affects the inmate, their families and, as a consequence, society.
How does a death row inmate experience his final hours?
Speaking about the final ho…

Japan: Prosecutors seek death penalty for man accused of killing three at Kawasaki nursing home

Hayato Imai
YOKOHAMA – Prosecutors on Thursday said they are seeking the death penalty for a man charged with murdering three elderly residents at a Kawasaki nursing home in 2014 by throwing them from balconies.

As the trial wrapped up at the Yokohama District Court, the prosecutors said that Hayato Imai, 25, had committed “cruel and despicable” crimes at the facility where he worked and that he is “undoubtedly the perpetrator” since he has made “highly credible confessions to police officers.”

Imai, who worked as a care worker at the facility, maintained his innocence, telling the court, “I regret that I made false confessions after succumbing to police pressure.”

“Please believe me,” Imai added.

The focal point of the trial was the credibility of confessions Imai made during police interrogations around the time of his arrest in 2016, in which he admitted to killing the three residents. But since that time Imai has consistently said he was innocent and has pleaded not guilty, arguing that he was forced to make false statements.

The court is scheduled to hand down a ruling on March 22.

During his first court hearing on Jan. 23, Imai said, “I have done nothing in any of the cases.”

His defense counsel said there is a lack of decisive evidence and that even if he had killed the residents he was mentally incompetent at the time of the incident.

Prosecutors have said that all three victims fell from balconies at the nursing home in Kanagawa Prefecture when Imai was working night shifts, and that his confessions were “detailed and convincing.” They pointed out that Imai was the only member of staff whose shifts coincided with all three deaths. They also said there were no problems with his mental state.

According to the indictment, Imai threw Tamio Ushizawa, 87, from a balcony in November 2014, and did the same the following month to Chieko Nakagawa, 86, and Nobuko Asami, 96.

Imai was the first person to report to his superiors that Ushizawa fell to his death from a balcony. He was also the first to notify the nursing home and local fire department about Asami.

In video footage of the initial interrogations, which was partly disclosed during a hearing last month, Imai admitted to killing the three, saying he committed the crimes because he felt taking care of them was “troublesome.” But he turned silent on Feb. 18, 2016, three days after his arrest on suspicion of murder, the footage also showed.

Questions about the deaths emerged in 2015, after Imai was arrested in May that year on suspicion of stealing a purse from the room of a woman in her 70s at the facility. He was fired shortly after the arrest.

Local police admitted that they had failed to link the three deaths to a possible crime and did not properly investigate until after the third resident’s fall from a sixth-floor balcony on New Year’s Eve in 2014.

The balconies at the facility are all guarded by high safety barriers, making it unlikely that the three victims jumped on their own.

Source: Japan Times, March 1, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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