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August 25 2010 | JAPAN

Japan

Death row first time opened to media

 
printable version

ANSA

PENA MORTE: GIAPPONE, APERTA AI MEDIA CAMERA ESECUZIONI/ANSA MINISTRO GIUSTIZIA, SERVE A FAVORIRE DIBATTITO SU ABOLIZIONE

 TOKYO, 23 AGO - Il ministro della Giustizia giapponese, Keiko Chiba, apre ai media la camera della morte del carcere di massima sicurezza di Tokyo.

L'ex avvocato, attivista dei diritti civili e storica sostenitrice del movimento parlamentare per l'abolizione della pena capitale lo aveva promesso lo scorso luglio, dopo aver autorizzato e presenziato a due impiccagioni, le prime sotto il governo guidato dai Democratici e a un anno esatto dalle ultime.

Una svolta inattesa, visto che sembrava aver preso corpo una sorta di moratoria, e in qualche modo giustificata come una provocazione. ''La via da seguire per cambiare l'orientamento dell'opinione pubblica e' contribuire - aveva detto - a un ampio dibattito sulla pena di morte: su questo i media possono molto''.

Una sfida difficile, se non velleitaria, visto che in base agli ultimi sondaggi l'86% della popolazione resta favorevole al suo mantenimento, ma il ministro, 62 anni, che probabilmente lascera' l'incarico a settembre per la mancata rielezione al Senato, ha intenzione di lottare fino all'ultimo.

La visita al carcere di Tokyo e' tanto straordinaria da essere ancora da definire: procedure, criteri e selezione dei rappresentati dei media (si parla solo di quelli nipponici) sono oggetto di analisi. Si e' ipotizzata la presenza di funzionari delle ambasciate europee, da sempre attive sul tema, ma - si apprende - la proposta e' rientrata per ''evitare imbarazzi''.  Il ministero ha solo fatto sapere che si terra' intorno a fine agosto, certamente prima - secondo gli osservatori - delle elezioni per la leadership dei Democratici di meta' settembre che potrebbero modificare radicalmente gli assetti del partito.

Chiba ha promosso un comitato ministeriale per valutare ''se tenere o abolire la pena di morte dall'ordinamento giudiziario'' nel mentre ci sono 107 condannati che attendono l'esecuzione.

E' improbabile che possa essere eliminata nell'immediato futuro in Giappone (che con gli Usa condivide il mantenimento tra i Paesi del G8), ma gli attivisti sperano nella spinta emotiva dell'apertura delle camera della morte.

Nel mirino c'e' un intero sistema: i detenuti sono privati del contatto con il mondo esterno, in isolamento e costretti ad attendere in media oltre 7 anni, talvolta decenni. in minuscoli celle un ordine d'esecuzione che puo' arrivare in ogni momento.

Amnesty International lo ha definito un ''regime di silenzio, isolamento e pura inesistenza'' che porta alla pazzia: almeno cinque detenuti nel braccio della morte sarebbero afflitti da malattie mentali e molti sarebbero anziani.

 

Reuters

Death penalty in Japan and around the world

Aug 23- Japan is set to open an execution chamber to the media for the first time, after the justice minister attended the hangings of two inmates in July and called for more debate on capital punishment.

Japan and the United States are the only countries in the Group of Eight rich nations that conduct executions.

Following are key facts on the death penalty in Japan and around the world.

JAPAN * Japan executed 7 people in 2009. Since 2007, the justice ministry has released information on those who have been hanged after the execution, such as their names and the crimes they committed.

* Death row inmates are kept in solitary confinement in 7 detention centres throughout the country. Currently, there are 107 of them.

* The death row inmates are notified on the morning of the execution day that they will be executed, usually about an hour before the execution. The U.N. Committee against Torture has criticised Japan for "the psychological strain" on inmates and their families over the uncertainty of the execution timing.

* Execution is by hanging. Medical experts have said that a person who is hanged immediately loses consciousness and their heart stops in about 15 minutes.

* While the law says an execution must take place within six months after the sentence is finalised by the court system, in practice it usually takes several years. Among 30 executions that took place in the 10 years from 1997, the average period was 7 years and 11 months. Some inmates have been in solitary confinement for over 20 years.

AROUND THE WORLD

* There are 58 countries that still retain capital punishment, while 104 countries have abolished it and 35 have stopped executions in practice.

* At least 714 people were executed in 2009, though the total does not include China, which did not provide a figure.

* The 18 countries known to have conducted executions in 2009 were: Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Libya, Malaysia, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, the United States, Vietnam and Yemen.

* Hanging, shooting, beheading, stoning, electrocution and lethal injection are common methods of executing people.

* The countries that executed the most people include Iran with at least 388, Iraq at least 120, Saudi Arabia at least 69, and the United States with 52. But China has likely conducted more executions than the rest of the world combined.

* There are 35 countries that in practice have a moratorium on executions. These are Algeria, Benin, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Nauru, Niger, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Congo, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tonga, Tunisia and Zambia.

* In the United States, death sentences and executions have been falling due to heated debate about innocent people being put to death, as well as the high costs of the process, including facilities and trial costs. There was a de-facto moratorium on executions from late 2007 to early 2008 as the Supreme Court heard a challenge to the lethal injection method, which it rejected in April 2008.

Sources: Reuters, Amnesty International, U.N. Committee against Torture, book "Death Penalty" by Yomiuri newspaper city news department, former lawmaker Nobuto Hosaka (Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)   

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