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JAPAN PRISONS
STATEMENT - For Immediate Release - 2 October 2003
Justice for Govinda - Innocence Advocacy Group, Japan

Mindless Rejection of Innocent Man's Appeal by Supreme Court Demolishes his Life and Makes Mockery of Japan's Justice System

On October 20, The Supreme Court of Japan rejected an appeal by Mr. Govinda Prasad Mainali, a Nepalese criminal defendant, and his 1997 murder conviction was finalized. On April 14, 2000, The Tokyo District Court originally acquitted Govinda of the charge. However, after the prosecution's appeal, the Tokyo High Court (appeal court), overturning the lower court's ruling, and found him guilty on December 22, 2000. The sentence handed down by Judge Takagi was life imprisonment. The Supreme Court upheld the High Court's decision, finalizing the life sentence.

The Justice for Govinda - Innocence Advocacy Group, Japan was, and still is, strongly convinced that every piece of evidence exhibited in the courts proved his innocence. Our members have been supporting Govinda since March 2001, and it was with great anger and deep sorrow that we learned of this outrageous decision.

On the morning of October 22, Mr. Asaka Kanda, one of Govinda's defense lawyers, visited him for the first time since the rejection of the appeal. After that, three of us, staff from Justice for Govinda, met him in the visiting room of the Tokyo Detention Center.

"Strange justice, isn't it?" He told us with a frozen face. His voice revealed that he was struggling to keep his mind calm and trying to bear as best he could the court's outrageous decision. "The Supreme Court rejected my appeal without a word of explanation about how I committed the crime and how they proved it. Do they have a prejudice against people from poor countries? Do they ignore them?" He showed us in exasperation the piece of paper with the court's rejection and continued: "Memos made by the victim were consistent with mine, weren't they? The police found a third party's skin hair at the crime site, didn't they? Medical investigation verified my alibi, didn't it? How were the Supreme Court Justices able to justify their conviction against me?" His rage and pain were so intense that we had no words to answer.

His long held feeling, which led to him coming to Japan, that Japan was a marvelous country with a developed economy and a progressive culture was totally demolished. The piece of paper that he held in his hand had seen to that. "What had they been doing these three years to issue such a flimsy outcome? They were just wasting time in order to pretend to deliberate on my case, weren't they? Please let the people know that I am an innocent man by explaining, piece by piece, the evidence that shows my innocence."

Despite the cold outcome, he still wants people to know the fact that he is innocent.

"How long should I be patient before I will be awarded parole?" When he asked that to us the biggest concern for him was his aged parents. His sickly mother is 76 years old and his father is 83. From beginning to end he tried to keep his presence of mind but failed to do so when he came to the fact that it was impossible for him to see his parents again even if he is provisionally released from the jail at the earliest opportunity. He began to weep before us. He asked us to call his wife Radha, who had been to Japan twice to visit him before, urgently. He also wants to see his elder brother, Indra, to ask him to take care of his family including his beloved two daughters. "When Radha came to me last time I was not expecting such an awful outcome. We talked a lot, assuming I would be acquitted. With this unexpected decision we need to talk again." At the same time he thought it best not to see his daughte rs saying, "it is not a good idea to see them under these horrible circumstances. Prison is a place where criminals serve their term to atone for wrongdoing. I have no idea how I will be able to survive life in such a place because I am innocent."

Despite his acquittal by the lower court, higher courts decided to keep him detained. It is not only a tragedy for him alone that this absurdity led to another absurdity: the rejection of his appeal. The fact that the rejection came three weeks after Govinda's lawyers exhibited new evidence, which bolstered his innocence, revealed that the Supreme Court justices didn't care to seek for the facts but just rushed to their inaccurate conclusion.

The Tokyo High Court's verdict itself was constituted only with sophism and prejudice. Giving an official go-ahead to it, The Supreme Court has ruined the Japanese justice system irreparably. Judge Fujita, Judge Kanetani, Judge Hamada and Judge Ueda have shown what an incompetent and irresponsible justice system Japan, sadly, has.

We at Justice for Govinda will continue a support him and his family until the day when Govinda is released and can return home to Nepal. We will continue our protest against Japan's incompetent and mean justice.

Please support us in our fight for justice for Govinda.
Justice for Govinda - Innocence Advocacy Group, Japan


  • Persecution of a Nepali citizen in Japan - Click Here

  • Letter from Govinda - Click Here
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