CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 9 December 2017

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Double execution in Japan

TOKYO (AsiaNews): Japan hanged two men on July 14, the more high profile of who was 61-year-old Masakatsu Nishikawa, who had been convicted of multiple murder but was seeking a retrial.
 
Nishikawa had been convicted of killing four female bar managers in Himeji, Hyogo prefecture, in 1991. The second one to dangle on the rope was 34-year-old Koichi Sumida, who was sentenced to death in February 2013 by the Okayama District Court for killing his 27-year-old former colleague, Misa Kato, a temporary staff, on 30 September 2011.
 
The executions were ordered by the minister for justice, Katsutoshi Kaneda, and are the 18th and 19th carried out since the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, returned to power in December 2012.
 
Neither family nor lawyers were informed beforehand.
 
The first execution ordered by Kaneda was in November last year of a man convicted of killing two women in Kumamoto.
 
Amnesty International lodged a protest against the double execution, claiming that Nishikawa’s request for retrial should have been granted.
 
The Church continues to be a voice against the death penalty. “All Japanese bishops are for the abolition of the death penalty. There are no differences of opinion,” Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami, from Nagasaki, said in 2012 on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan.
 
“Even if the person who is killed is a murderer, his death is another murder, by the state this time,” he added. “Humanity must renew its sense of living together. We must all consider ourselves children of God again.”
 
It is estimated that more than 100 people are currently on death row in Japan.

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