Death row prisoners launch legal challenge to Japan’s no-notice executions -- Oct 25
Two prisoners sentenced to death in Japan have appealed against the country's policy of giving only two hours' notice before executions are carried out.

Japan gives prisoners on death row only one or two hours' notice of their hanging, a policy that authorities say safeguards the victim’s “emotional stability.”

The case, brought by two anonymous death row prisoners in Osaka district court, contains harrowing testimony.

“When the prison officer opens the door of the prisoner’s room and announces the execution, the prisoner is immediately detained and taken to the place of execution,” the case quotes death row prisoner Hiroshi Sakaguchi as writing to lawyers. “The prisoner is tied up, handcuffed, and taken to the execution table in the same clothes, where he is hanged with a noose. … We, the condemned, are not allowed to object to the execution.”

Other testimony takes the form of an audio tape recorded in 1955, which shows the final hours of an unnamed prisoner at a time when notice periods were longer. In the tape, the man receives three days’ notice of his upcoming execution and spends the time making affectionate farewells to inmates and his visiting sister, who sobs. The tape includes sound of the man being hanged as Buddhist priests chant sutras.

Japan now has tightened the notice period to one to two hours, giving prisoners insufficient time to contact anyone outside the prison or even to reflect on their upcoming death. ...continue reading

Society Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7