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Human Rights Commissioner Strässer condemns latest use of death penalty in Japan

29.08.2014

Christoph Strässer, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement on 29 August on the latest use of the death penalty in Japan:

I was appalled to hear that two further death sentences were carried out in Japan this morning. Since the current government came to power in December 2012, a total of eleven people have now been executed. As was the case for previous executions, the condemned were informed at short notice and their relatives only after the event. They had no time to prepare themselves and say farewell to each other. I consider this to be a particularly unreasonable and inhumane practice.

The death penalty is an inhumane and cruel form of punishment. The Federal Government is opposed to its use, whatever the circumstances. I call on the Japanese government to hold a public debate in society on the question of whether the death sentence has any place at all in a highly developed legal system such as Japan.

Background information:

Two men sentenced to death were executed in Japan on 29 August. One of the men had been sentenced for an arson attack on a branch of a bank in which five people died, the other for a triple murder. Since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December 2012, a total of 11 people have been executed. Those sentenced to death do not know about the imminent execution until immediately beforehand and thus have no opportunity to say farewell to their families, who are not informed about the execution until after the event.

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