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  4. Demand Justice for Hakamada:袴田巖さんの再審実現にあなたの力を!

Demand Justice for Hakamada:袴田巖さんの再審実現にあなたの力を!

Iwao Hakamada


Iwao Hakamada was sentenced to death in 1968 after an unfair trial, and spent 46 years not knowing if each day would be his last. On March 27, 2014 he finally walked free from prison in Japan, however, his fight to receive a fair trial continues. Please urge the prosecution to drop their appeal against the decision to grant Hakamada a retrial immediately.





On 27 March 2014, after studying new evidence that has emerged on Hakamada's case, the Shizuoka District Court ordered Hakamada's release, suspended the death sentence, and granted him a retrial. Upon grating a retrial, the court pointed out the likelihood that the evidence against Hakamada was fabricated, calling any further attempts to keep him in prison "unforgivably" unjust.

The prosecution immediately appealed to the Tokyo High Court against the decision to release him, but this was rejected by the court. On 31 March, the prosecution also appealed against the decision to grant a retrial, and the Tokyo High Court now has to decide whether a retrial can go ahead.

Hakamada is 78 years old and suffers from poor mental and physical health as a result of his many years on death row.

We need your voice to pressure the prosecution to drop their appeal against the decision to grant Hakamada a retrial.

About Hakamada case

Iwao Hakamada was sentenced to death in 1968 after being convicted in an unfair trial in 1966 of the murder of the boss of the factory where he worked, and the man's wife and two children.


Hakamada confessed to the murder of his boss, his boss's wife and their two children after 20 days of interrogation by police without a lawyer present. He retracted his confession and testified during his trial that police had beaten and threatened him to force him to sign a confession. Hakamada claimed that police had pulled his hair and slapped him during interrogations that lasted more than 12 hours every day.

Nonetheless he was found guilty and sentenced to death in 1968. His appeals were rejected by the Tokyo High Court in 1976 and the Supreme High Court in 1980. He went on to petition for a retrial: he was rejected by the Shizuoka District Court in 1994 and the Tokyo High Court in 2004. The Supreme Court rejected his petition for a third time on 24 March 2008; his lawyers submitted a second appeal the following month to the Shizuoka District Court.

One of the judges who convicted Hakamada, Kumamoto Norimichi, stated publicly in 2007 that he believed Hakamada was innocent. He said that during the trial he had argued with the other two judges that they should find Hakamada not guilty, but was outvoted.

Hakamada appears to have been sentenced to death principally on the basis of a confession extracted under duress. A key part of the evidence against him was a set of clothing, stained with the victims' blood, which was found abandoned in a tank of liquid miso at the factory. They were too small for Hakamada, but the prosecution claimed they had shrunk while in the tank. According to his lawyer, the knife Hakamada was supposed to have used was too small to have made the fatal wounds, and the door by which he was supposed to have entered and left the victims' house had been locked.


Please urge the prosecution to drop their appeal against the decision to grant Hakamada a retrial, pointing out the decision by the district court to grant a retrial and the need for this to go ahead as soon as possible considering Hakamada's age and health concerns.


Appeal target
Tokyo Superintendent Public Prosecutor, Kotaro ONO
(東京高等検察庁 大野恒太郎検事長)




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