Japan: Death row inmates file lawsuit over inhumane execution date information
Two death-row inmates in Japan are suing the country over the way prisoners are informed just hours before they are to be executed. They are demanding a change and asking for compensation for the effects of this “inhumane” practice, according to their lawyer.
The death penalty in Japan is carried out by hanging, and the practice of not informing prisoners of the timing until shortly before execution has long been criticized by international human rights organizations for the stress it causes prisoners, for whom any day could be their last.
On Thursday, two death row inmates filed a lawsuit in a district court in the western city of Osaka, calling the practice illegal because it did not give prisoners time to appeal.
The United States and Japan are the only industrialized democracies that still carry out the death penalty, and human rights groups such as Amnesty International have been calling for change for decades.
According to the Ministry of Justice, 112 people are currently sentenced to death in Japan, but no one has been executed in nearly two years. Public opinion polls regularly show that a large majority of the population favors the death penalty, which is usually imposed in connection with murders.