The Second Appeal for the Retrial of the Sayama Case Dismissed

On January 24, the Tokyo High Court dismissed the formal objection filed for the second retrial of the Sayama case. The defence counsels subsequently lodged a special appeal to the Supreme Court on January 29.

Mr. Kazuo Ishikawa, 63, of Buraku origin, was falsely arrested and sentenced to death in 1964. During his appeal trial, he maintained his innocence and insisted that his confession was forced (for more about Sayama case, please see page 3).

The Tokyo High Court stated, "The series of new evidence submitted for the appeal trial does not influence the former decision in which Mr. Ishikawa was found guilty. Dismissal is therefore the correct decision."

The defence counsel claimed that the Tokyo High Court not only disregarded the newly submitted expert's opinions, but also failed to examine the reliability of the old evidence.

The Yomiuri Newspaper reported on January 28 that it is necessary to form rules regarding retrial. While there have been cases in which the outcome of examination of witnesses and inspection of the crime scene has led to the opening of a trial, neither of those procedures have been conducted in the Sayama case. Moreover, it criticised the Court's refusal of the defence counsel's request for disclosure of the evidence held by the police investigators.

Sources: Yomiuri Shimbun (newspaper), Jan. 28, 2002; Mainichi Shimbun (, Jan. 24, 2002; Kaiho Shimbun (Liberation News), Feb. 4, 2002