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JPBA’s ‘Free Hakamada’ members ask Public Prosecutors Office not to seek special appeal

Mar 16, 2023 16:09 pm

Japan Pro Boxing Association’s committee members to call for ‘’Free Hakamada’’ movement visited the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office on May 15 and asked the office not to appeal the recent Tokyo High Court’s decision to grant a retrial to former professional boxer Iwao Hakamada who was sentenced to death over a 1966 quadruple murder case in central Japan, and who spent about 48 years behind bars before new evidence led to his release.

The committee is making efforts to widen the network of aid for the 87-year-old Hakamada since the deadline for special appeal is March 20.

The World Boxing Council, which has been cooperative in the movement said in its official homepage that the WBC and JPBA are standing shoulder to shoulder, to resolve the case of Hakamada, who was wrongfully convicted of murder.

The high court’s decision on the retrial of Hakamada came on March 13 after the court brushed aside the immediate appeal on the part of prosecutors.

The court said it ‘’cannot possibly identify Mr. Hakamada as the culprit,’’ citing unreliability of the main evidence — five pieces of clothing he was believed to have worn during the incident — that was used in finalizing his death sentence.

Hakamada himself had been released from the Tokyo Detention House in March 2014 under a Shizuoka district court ruling. But he is still stigmatized as a death-row inmate.

Former World Boxing Association junior bantamweight champion Satoshi Iida said, ‘’Considering the prosecutors’ cause (for the respect for basic human rights and shedding light on the truth), I don’t think they will resort to special appeal. I directly told prosecutors staff members, ‘’Let’s have a clean fight on the ring for the retrial. I think they have listened to what I have said seriously.’’

According to the then police, Hakamada stabbed to death four family members at a soybean paste shop on June 30, 1966 in Shizuoka Prefecture’s Shimizu Ward in an attempt to steal money, and then set fire to the shop after pouring gasoline on the bodies.

The main focal point between the defense and prosecution was the color of the blood-soaked five items of clothing, believed to be those of Hakamada as they were found in a miso tank a little more than a year after the murder case.

When they were found, the redness of the bloodstain was seen. But the defense argued about the color, saying it is impossible for those clothes to maintain redness as long as more than a year in the tank. They bloodstain should turn black.

The defense said it had been fabricated by a third party shortly before the clothes were found, while the prosecution side maintained that redness can be retained based on its own experiments.

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