Nepal man says he was tortured by Japanese police, plans book

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  • 26

    marcelito

    Can`t wait to hear the police denials of any mistreatment and accusations of a foreigner out for a compansation payment to begin to fly. Personally I hope he sues the sh."$(#..t out of the system for what they did to him.

  • 16

    rickyvee

    although this case may have garnered widespread attention, it will do little to change police procedures. the fact remains that (coerced) confessions are the mainstay in Japan.

  • 18

    Ms. Alexander

    I can totally believe that he was tortured. I have no idea if Japan will offer any compensation for their wrong doing but I hope he makes some sort of money with his book.

  • 11

    Akemi Mokoto

    I never thought I'd say this EVER but I think either Japan needs to reform its legal system quickly or other nations like America needs to issue harsh sanctions against Japan for human rights violations. I am now afraid to enter Japan after this and may just completely cancel plans to live there after reading the book. I was, and kind of still am, a HUGE lover of Japan. I always knew about the "issues" there but I turned a blind eye to it and convinced myself it was rare. Big mistake.

  • 14

    vctokyo

    more incompetence..its really making a joke of the police in japan and the justice system as a whole

  • 6

    akkk1

    Japan needs to reform its legal system quickly or other nations like America needs to issue harsh sanctions against Japan for human rights violations.

    America would never issue harsh sanctions against Japan because it's a close ally. Besides, this type of news is ignored by western mainstream media.

  • 1

    basroil

    He probably won't end up demanding compensation he would normally be entitled to, but I'm sure can can get some decent sponsors for a book, maybe even a big name publishing house.

  • 7

    JapanGal

    There is a good movie called something like "I did not do it" I downloaded and watched it recently. It is a free download. It shows you how the prison system works and how the courts ruin the lives of countless innocent people. I hope he sues big time and wins.

  • 5

    JapanGal

    English sub-titles for those of you not fluent in Japanese. Good for practice too if you are studying.

  • 2

    gaijinfo

    America would never issue harsh sanctions against Japan because it's a convenient place to put a military base. Besides, this type of news is ignored by western mainstream media.

    I think this is what you meant, akkk1.

  • 17

    Lilic

    My friend was in detention for 21 days for investigation and released after with no charges. He lost his job and everything. No access to an lawyer or a phone call. This country still in the medieval era of Justice.

  • 9

    Yubaru

    Sadly he is never going to receive the compensation that he is due for losing 15 years of his life. Japanese courts do not give out large sums in verdicts, and to get any money at all is probably going to take at least another 10 to 15 years if the cops and justice system fight it.

    The problem really isnt with the police this time. It's the Justice system and their desire to keep up the image of a high prosecution rate even when it's wrong.

  • -7

    avenger

    If his sperm was found in the condom, why did his wife not testify on his behalf. They were using it as a love hotel before ?

  • 7

    smithinjapan

    "The semen in the condom sample was also dated to before well before her death."

    Wow, J-CSI at their best. They didn't do any comparisons at the time? Just found traces of the guy's semen in a condom in the room and decided to call it a day? Sounds more or less like the J-cops and the justice system here. I for one will gladly buy this man's book, and would shake his hand if I could. I have zero doubt the Japanese will ignore the book completely, until asked about it in an international forum at which the person present will twitch nervously and probably try to claim there was no wrong doing or nothing was wrong, soon after which he'll say the situation was "regrettable" and that they'll strive to not repeat it (while making zero changes and cursing under his/her breath that they were caught red-handed), etc.

    The system won't change here. If you don't work for a power company, like the woman murdered did, do not have high powered connections, are not rich, a police officer, or a politician, you're screwed. If you are one of them you'll barely be punished at all despite actually being caught on camera and giving a REAL confession (ie. not forced).

  • 6

    taj

    I was very pleased to see that the BBC had picked up and run this story in their international news. The justice system has been going through reforms with the introduction of lay judges, (limited) recording of interogations, a stronger requirement for evidence to back up confessions, etc., and it's not the same system that put Mainali in prison.

    That said, there's still a very long ways to go. I would hope that people, the original prosecutors who withheld critical evidence, in particular, are held to account and prosecuted in turn. They must be made examples of.

    I want every Japanese person I know to realize that this has become international news. They need to realize that the system here is shameful. And then they need to demand change.

  • 0

    nedinjapan

    The idiots I have seen in the Police and also the Chinese system court that automatically considers one guilty as charged, are shameful. How can they make this change when they have filled their system with idiots all over? My solution is to start with the basics: Give all these police forces, prosecutors and judges some TV detective stories to watch; start from Colombo and keep going; it will be a lot more efficient than all the classes and training they get. Shame on you!

  • 4

    Stephen Knight

    Speaking as an American, I think Japan's biggest issue in these cases is what happens between arrest and conviction--the whole pre-trial process--especially the collusion that goes on between police and prosecutors, and the abuse of the pre-charge detention system. In America, on the other hand, real hell begins after you're convicted and imprisoned. Japanese prisons are college dorms--strictly-run college dorms, certainly--in comparison with American penetentiaries. So I don't think the U.S. is the country Japan wants to turn to for advice on reforms, and certainly the U.S. is in no position to be criticizing Japan's penal system.

    In any case, I'm glad an innocent man was finally exonerated.

    • Moderator

      Readers, please stay on topic. The U.S. justice system is not relevant to this discussion.

  • 2

    cramp

    to them he's a foreigner, and worse still an indian man, so of course he's a liar and he's guilty of murder, that pretty much goes without saying...

    and i remember watching that movie...it was good

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0794350/

  • -1

    basroil

    smithinjapanNov. 08, 2012 - 04:42PM JST

    Wow, J-CSI at their best. They didn't do any comparisons at the time? Just found traces of the guy's semen in a condom in the room and decided to call it a day?

    I'm sure they actually did do prompt comparison. But then they had to spend a few weeks making sure they could frame the guy because someone told them he had to have done it.

    You know, if the glove doesn't fit.... crush the guy's hand until it does.

  • 4

    tairitsuiken

    They didn't do any comparisons at the time

    @smith

    Apparently, they did have some evidence in form of some hair and saliva that didn't match that of Govinda's but that was withheld. Seems you, as a prosecutor, can actually do that and expect no punishment for it. At least, that is what Wikipedia says.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Yasuko_Watanabe

  • 11

    gogogo

    Are the police trying to find the real killer? no

    Did Japan even say sorry? no...

    What is wrong with Japan?

  • 0

    Realistic

    Mainali was charged after traces of his sperm were found in a condom at the murder scene

    I could have flushed that!

  • 0

    Ebereson

    Free man,you better wright a book than compensation so that you can expose them and make money

  • 6

    jojo_in_japan

    More importantly, the REAL KILLER IS STILL OUT THERE!!!

  • 0

    unequivocallyobservingjapan

    You'll never find this book on the top seller list in japan.

  • -8

    Tiger_In_The_Hermitage

    J Police torture? Or was he tortured by inmates?

  • 6

    GW

    Japanese shud be terrified of their own system but most dont seem to care much

  • 0

    serendipitous

    Whose apartment was her body found in? It wasn't hers or his I believe. Or was she just using it as a brothel? He was a suspect because I recall (correct me if I'm wrong) he admitted bonking her (but that was elsewhere and she may have kept the condom he used and planned to throw it away later but was killed by someone else before she threw out the trash). Or was he just framed by someone? Anyway, a terrible thing for him to have to go through if he wasn't the killer.

  • 8

    Kabukilover

    I shocked but not surprised that the man was tortured. I am going to say it again. The most dangerous criminals in Japan are the police and the prosecutors. This sort of thing can happen to any of us.

  • -5

    Kobuta Chan

    15 years ago, Justice in US, Europe and other Western countries even worst than Japan. Really sad for this poor man has to spend 15 years in prison for the crime he wasn't committed. Japanese Government should give compensation for his suffering in Prison.

  • 8

    prinzjay

    I had the experience of being arrested and convicted of assault in Yokohama back in 2011........ I was not beaten...but the first 21 days was awful. I was not allowed to brush my teeth...because I could not spend the money I had in my pockets on toothpaste or soap when I was arrested until after I was indicted. You will meet the prosecutor on your 2nd day after arrest...the 10th day...the 21day....NO lawyer until AFTER you are indicted. I was interrogated everyday for hours on end...over and over and over. You get NO visitors until AFTER you are indicted....there is NO bail. The police will sit behind you if you have friends or family visit you....lawyer or Embassy staff will not require a police officer in the room. You get a bath...yes, bath...every 5 days. You can buy porn magazines...extra dinner bento, snacks...so make make sure you got somebody on the outside sending you money and english reading materials. NO english books....NO TV.....NO Phones....NO day room. 23.5 hours a day in a cell...NO bed..NO desk...NO chair...just the plastic tatami/wood floor. I could go on in detail....but in the end after 10 weeks in the Kohoku Jail....I plead guilty in court and was given 3 years probation and no fine...and walked out the door. If I fought the charges...I was looking at up to 3 years in Fuchu Prison.

  • 1

    NeoJamal

    My friend was in detention for 21 days for investigation and released after with no charges. He lost his job and everything. No access to an lawyer or a phone call. This country still in the medieval era of Justice.

    Most people in western democracies who witness such kind of depraved state sanctioned injustice reply: "Oh schmucks, what if I was this guy, we've gotta do something about this, I'm gonna write my MP about it."

    Japanese (eligible) voters on the other hand reply: "Meh, s/he shouldn't have acted in such a way that attracted the attention of the cops in the first place."

    Baaaah!

  • 0

    sdbri

    We'll need to wait for his book to come out to find out what he's referring to as torture. His rights were probably violated in prison - they certainly were to an extreme in detention - but torture could mean anything from sleep deprivation to mutilations and waterboarding. Probably not the latter. Let's not equate all tortures while recognizing that the criminal justice system does fail and it's more important what we do about it than the fact that it's far from perfect.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    What is wrong with Japan?

    The list could fill volumes.

  • 0

    volland

    Look… let’s face it…

    “…the original probe had overlooked the fact that semen found inside Watanabe was not Mainali’s.”

    “The Supreme Court upheld his life sentence in 2003.”

    This country is a bad joke. It is a backward feudal society in a what basically is a Third World Country that happens to be able pretend.

    “…a scandal which has brought ignominy on Japan’s justice system…

    You are insulting reader’s intelligence by printing nonsense like this. Do you really want to tell us, that it needed this case to do that? This case simply confirmed, what everybody who wanted to see, already saw a long time ago.

    If the people of japan lets itself treated by a system like this and accepts the “politicians” they have, then they deserve it.

  • 2

    Yubaru

    .I plead guilty in court and was given 3 years probation and no fine...and walked out the door. If I fought the charges...I was looking at up to 3 years in Fuchu Prison.

    Thanks for sharing this, it gives and idea of what others and this guy went through as well.

    And they didn't deport you? Wow, pretty lucky.

  • 1

    MasterBape

    The crime rate is so low in Japan because of a few reasons, one of them being the way police handle things by detaining the accused, who they think is guilty, until he confesses to a crime he/she may or may not have done.

    The court also has an extremely high rate of convictions.

    This alone puts the sh!ts up you and, should you become involved, in one way or another, there's no-one to help.

    It's this fear that police rely on, so don't think it will change anytime soon.

    In Japan one is guilty until proven innocent, and proving to be innocent is hard with that attitude.

    Amnesty International has been monitoring this for a while, but expect nothing to be done with the tired old "this is Japan; this is how we do things" excuse, and then probably complaints of culture and foreigners wanting to interfere...etc.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    The crime rate is so low in Japan because of a few reasons, one of them being the way police handle things by detaining the accused, who they think is guilty, until he confesses to a crime he/she may or may not have done.

    I hope people don't buy into this myth too much. Yes it's low, in comparison to other countries, but one also has to remember that "facts" are reported differently here. There are plenty of crimes that go unreported, or under reported as well.

    • Moderator

      Back on topic please.

  • -1

    Thomas Anderson

    Japan need to be tried themselves for blatant human rights violations.

  • 3

    prinzjay

    Thanks for sharing this, it gives and idea of what others and this guy went through as well.

    And they didn't deport you? Wow, pretty lucky.

    No, I was not deported. It wasnt that big of a crime. My lawyer told me my visa was safe...so long as I wasnt sent to a year or more in prison (if my visa didnt expire before then). I was charged with "Shougai"...inflicting injury....the victim wanted 800,000 yen to drop the charges....I didnt have that kind of money....so I had to take my chances with the judge. I won....sort of.

    Just want to share with others...the police will arrest and prosecute people for the smallest of crimes. I met people (Japanese people) in jail for using a marker to draw a mustache on a political campaign poster....or for causing a minor traffic accident with their cars.....now I know why the "Hey, its me!!" phone scams works so well.....if you dont pay the traffic accident victim money right away...you're going to jail really quick.

    While I was sitting in my cell...I would see people come from interrogation or a new face come into the cell block in tears.

    BTW: The Kohoku police department (Shin-Yokohama) has a sound proof plexiglass room inside a another room with a double steel door. It was reserved for for trouble makers in the cell block.....I just assumed it was a storage closet. I didnt know about it until an old man pretending to be mentally ill (to avoid being indicted) started making trouble..he was put in there for days in a row..and a stream of tough cops would pay him a visit several times a day...he was screaming bloody murder when those steel doors got opened...and the voice quickly disappeared when the steel doors shut. The last I saw of that old man...he was wearing a diaper and sporting bruises all over as he was lead away from the cell block probably to a mental ward somewhere. It was surreal.

  • 0

    megosaa

    yes, it was sad to see that this still happens in this day and age. japan has all the necessary technology at hand but still using predated methods in dealing legal matters. i was glad when i saw the news that he was finally found "NOT GUILTY". moral of the story: discard your used 'doms with care!

  • 0

    alliswellinjapan

    Rough calculation of his compensation brings an estimated amount of JPY68M tops.

    Unprofessional to say the least on the part of the prosecutors to base their accusations on the mere fact that the man just happened to be an illegal alien, a regular customer of the victim, owned the keys to the room of the crime, was with the victim very recently (as according to the victim's diary), had a fair amount of money with him regarding which he was unable to explain exactly where he obtained it from and his hair and sperm in a condom found in the room.

    Had it not been for the innovation in DNA testing techniques which had finally proven the strong possibility of the existence of another suspect, don't think the man would have ever been able to clear his suspicion.

  • 0

    basroil

    alliswellinjapanNov. 09, 2012 - 01:33PM JST

    Had it not been for the innovation in DNA testing techniques which had finally proven the strong possibility of the existence of another suspect, don't think the man would have ever been able to clear his suspicion.

    There haven't been any innovations in DNA techniques, from the get-go it wasn't a match and the cops knew it, especially when simple blood work completely cleared the guy since the type wasn't even the same. They simply refused to disclose their findings due to a huge hole in the justice system that allows prosecutor to hide findings and evidence forever (or until the second they use it in court).

  • 0

    alliswellinjapan

    basroil:

    There haven't been any innovations in DNA techniques, from the get-go it wasn't a match and the cops knew it, especially when simple blood work completely cleared the guy since the type wasn't even the same.

    Believe what you are saying is half-correct. There have been dramatic improvements in the level of precision of DNA tests following the man's arrest which have enabled very small sample amounts to be verified, which has certainly helped strenghthen the possibility of the man's innocense. That said it is also true prosecutors already had saliva samples found in the victims breats with a different blood type from the man which was not disclosed until last year for obvious reasons. Should have been much more careful and scientific from the get-go and should have avoided any influence from prejudice, that is for sure.

  • -1

    basroil

    alliswellinjapanNov. 09, 2012 - 02:36PM JST

    Believe what you are saying is half-correct. There have been dramatic improvements in the level of precision of DNA tests following the man's arrest which have enabled very small sample amounts to be verified,

    New advances usually help with speed and removing false positives, but even with techniques of the day all but the sample from inside the woman all matched an individual other than this man. And it wasn't just the spit (which was also analyzed for DNA matching), but a blood stain (pretty obviously useful) and even pubic hair that all pointed to someone else. It's like having all the signs tell you the guy's bathroom is on the right, and then you go into the one on the left because it had a blue door and of course "all guy's bathrooms use blue and girl's red".

    In fact, the cops knew they had no evidence whatsoever, and instead relied on intimidation and lying to get a plea out of the guy.

  • 1

    alliswellinjapan

    basroil:

    New advances usually help with speed and removing false positives

    Again here you are half-correct. The biggest driver in suggesting the strong possibility of a different suspect thus making further prosecution of the man difficult was the different DNA found in samples taken from inside the nails of the victim which could never have been identified before due to the small sample amount. Also true under the current legal system the prosecutors do not have the obligation to disclose all evidence obtained which obviously incentivizes them to limit disclosure of evidence only to those which help prove their case which is only natural for them, thus reform of the system will need to be in place going forward.

    All in all very unfortunate that this happened and hope the man gets his full compensation that he is entitled to. Equally important that rules of full evidence disclosure by prosecutor and visualization of interrogation process gets implemented as with US and UK following lessons learned not only from this case but several others. As shown in UK findings full visualization of interrogation process through video footage and recordings also help the prosecutors in avoiding false claims made by suspects of violence and torture during interrogation.

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