Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Civic Organization Aims at Eradication of Wrongful Convictions

The inaugural meeting of "Say No! To Wrongful Convictions: Citizens' Council (SNOW)" took place on June 8 in Shibuya, Tokyo. More than 120 people attended the meeting and the venue was filled with the excitement. Not-guilty rulings were handed down in the retrials for the Ashikaga Case, the Fukawa Case and the Tepco Employee Murder Case in the last two years, but why, in the first place, the accused of these cases were convicted for crimes they didn't commit?  The panel discussion in the meeting highlighted corruption in the judiciary system and fundamental defects underlaying in the criminal investigation process, naming such facts as the promotion of the judge who wrongfully convicted the accused in the Tepco Employee Case and the unwillingness of unrepentant prosecutors and police for video recording of interrogations. The panel also criticized mass media for failing to fulfill the role of watchdogs. The new organization aims at establishing a network of supporters of various wrongful conviction cases and advocating for improvement of the judiciary system based on the frame of reference and common sense of ordinary people. SAKURAI Shoji, one of the recently acquitted victims of the Fukawa wrongful conviction case, gave a speech in the meeting. "Prosecutors involved in my case publicly say that the acquittal simply reflects the fact that they were unable to verify the crime. They still would not accept my innocence or admit their wrongdoings. I will never forgive such people. I'll do my best to gain many people's support to our endeavor," he said. (By M)*Photo:Panel members


8日、東京・渋谷で「なくせ冤罪!市民評議会」設立総会が開かれた。120人を超える人々が詰めかけ、会場は熱気に包まれた。足利事件・布川事件・東電OL事件などこの2年間で「再審無罪」が相次いだが、なぜ冤罪はなくならないのか。総会のパネル討論で指摘されたのは、「ゴビンダ冤罪判 決を出した裁判官が栄転して いる」「検察・警察は反省せず取り調べの可視化にも消極的」など、司法の腐敗と根本的欠陥が指摘された。またそれを批判しないメディアのあり方にも及んだ。市民評議会の設立は個別事件の枠をこえたネットワークをつくり、司法制度を市民感覚を活かして変えていこうという試み。 布川事件冤罪被害者の桜井昌司さんは挨拶に立ち、「検察官は今でも犯罪を立証できなかっただけと公言している。反省していない。だからこそ絶対に許さず、この運動を広げたい」と決意を述べた。(M)

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