Retrial for world’s longest serving death row inmate

 A Japanese man who was on death row for nearly half a century has been granted a retrial.

Iwao Hakamada, now 87, is the world’s lon­gest-serving death row inmate, according to Amnesty International.

He was sentenced to death in 1968 for murdering his boss, the man’s wife and their two children in 1966.

The former profession­al boxer confessed after 20 days of interrogation during which he said he was beaten. He later retracted the confession in court.

Rights groups have criticised Japan’s reliance on confessions, which they say police often obtain by force.

In the retrial, judges will rule on whether DNA from blood stains found on clothing alleged to have been worn by the killer matches Mr Hakamada’s. His lawyers had argued that it did not and that the evidence was fabricated.

Iwao Hakamada was arrested and accused of robbing and killing his employer and his family at a miso or soybean pro­cessing factory in Shizuo­ka west of Tokyo in 1966. They were found stabbed to death after a fire.

In 2014, Hakamada was released from jail and granted a retrial by a district court, which found investigators could have planted evidence. The decision was then overturned by Tokyo’s high court.


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