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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: Court orders retrial of deceased man convicted in 1984 murder over forced confession

Prison cell
OTSU, Shiga -- A court has ordered a retrial for a deceased man who was convicted of murdering a 69-year-old woman in 1984 in western Japan, endorsing new evidence and suspecting that he was forced into confession after being beaten by police officers.

The decision by the Otsu District Court in Shiga Prefecture on Wednesday quashed the Osaka High Court's ruling in 2011 that dismissed Hiromu Sakahara's plea for a retrial. Sakahara died the same year, and in 2012, his family filed a second retrial petition with the district court.

It is believed to the first time a Japanese court has ordered a retrial sought by the family of a deceased convict.

Sakahara was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison on charges he killed Hatsu Ikemoto, a liquor store manager in Hino, Shiga, and seized her cash box.

After being arrested and indicted in 1988, Sakahara argued that his original confession during the investigation was made under coercion. The focal point of the trial was the method of the murder and whether Sakahara's confession was credible.

The family's defense team claimed it was impossible to murder the woman in the way Sakahara had explained in his confession, and as new evidence, submitted a lab result by a forensic doctor.

The new evidence showed the woman had been knocked down on her back and strangled, while Sakahara had confessed to strangling her from behind.

The district court weighed the evidence and supported the defense team's claim that wounds on the woman's body did not match the way Sakahara had said he murdered her.

The court also denied the credibility of his confession, the strongest evidence for his conviction, suspecting he was forced to confess after police beat him and threatened to harm his family.

In 1995, the district court found Sakahara guilty and sentenced him to life in prison. The high court and the Supreme Court later upheld the ruling, finalizing his conviction in 2000.

Source: Japan Today, July 12, 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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