Tag Archives: Hakamada Iwao

Report from our June meeting

15 Jun

The life of a 10-year-old girl, pregnant after being raped by her stepfather, is in danger in Paraguay. Despite the high risk this pregnancy poses, and her mother’s request, Paraguayan authorities have denied her access to a safe abortion. We signed letters to the Attorney General and President of Paraguay pleading for swift action in this distressing case.

We also signed letters to the Japanese authorities for Hakamado Iwao, the Japanese man who, until his provisional release last year, had been on death row for 46 years, living under the constant fear of execution, never knowing from one day to the next whether he was going to be put to death. This adds psychological torture to an already cruel and inhumane punishment. At 79, he now awaits a possible re-trial.

Dr. Tun Aung

Dr. Tun Aung

On a happier note, the Group were delighted to read the letter that Dr Tun Aung (left), our now released Burmese Prisoner of Conscience, had written to Amnesty:

‘When I was arbitrarily arrested and sentenced, Amnesty was the first organization I thought of and I hoped in some way it would work for my release….I started receiving some letters from Amnesty International members. It was the first flicker of light in my dark days…. The extent of the campaign and hundreds of personal letters written to me and my family made me very emotional and humbled.’

Our next meeting is at 8pm on Tuesday 14th July at the Silver Street Baptist Church, Taunton. We look forward to seeing you there.

Japan – please don’t send Hakamada back to death row

19 Oct

hakamadaHakamada Iwao‘s freedom is hard-won, but it could be lost at any moment.

After 46 years on Japan’s death row, he was freed in March and granted a retrial based on new DNA evidence that could prove his innocence.

Now prosecutors are appealing his retrial – they want to send the 78-year-old back to death row.

Please ask them to drop the appeal.

Here’s what happened at the April 2014 Taunton Amnesty meeting…

11 Apr
Hakamada leaves prison after 46 years on death row © JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

Hakamada leaves prison after 46 years on death row © Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images

A piece of welcome good news! Japanese death row prisoner Hakamodo Iwao has at last been released. He was sentenced to death in 1968 after a trial of dubious validity, and has been under sentence of death for an unbelievable 44 years.  However, the prosecution has appealed against this release.  The Tokyo High Court could take up to two years to rule, adding to the psychological distress already endured by this elderly gentleman.

The Group debated what campaigns and countries to focus on particularly this year. We will be working for the Stop Torture and Crisis and Tactical Campaigns. We will continue to work for Dr Tun Aung of Burma; two members will focus on North Africa, and another on China, besides continuing work on such issues as the Death Penalty.

April’s monthly action highlighted the dreadful plight of persecuted civilians in the Central African Republic, where society has broken down in a series of sectarian and inter-ethnic conflicts. Amnesty is appealing to the Americans to support an immediate intervention by international peacekeeping forces. Click here to sign the petition.

Our May meeting will be addressed by Rebecca Pow, prospective Conservative candidate for Taunton, on human rights issues. All are most welcome to come and hear her at 8pm on the Tuesday 13th May 2014 at Silver Street Baptist Church. 

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