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JAPAN. DEATH SENTENCE METED VIA NEW FAST-TRACK PROCESS

March 21, 2006: the Kobe District Court sentenced 65-year-old Mineteru Yamamoto to death for robbing and killing a couple in 2004 in what was believed to be the first death sentence handed down by a court through streamlined trial procedures. Attorneys for Yamamoto appealed the ruling immediately to the Osaka High Court.
The ruling and sentencing came at the trial's fourth session, about two months after the first session was held, after defense attorneys and prosecutors met behind closed doors during the trial to narrow down the points of argument and decide on the evidence to be used, the witnesses to be called and the trial schedule.
The procedure, in which the defense and prosecution revealed what they planned to prove and presented their evidence to each other behind closed doors, was introduced in November 2005 year to speed up trials in preparation for the introduction of the "citizen judge" system by May 2009.
According to the district court, Yamamoto was in financial trouble due to gambling and fatally stabbed his cousin, Toshiteru Nakasuji, 68, and Nakasuji's wife, Hisako, 75, at their home in Kobe on July 22, 2004.
Yamamoto then stole about 50,000 yen in cash, a watch and other items. Presiding Judge Akiyoshi Sasano said there was no room for leniency over the motive, which came down to Yamamoto's wanting to keep on gambling despite losing. (Sources: The Japan Times, 21/03/2006)

NIGERIA. MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR STEALING BICYCLE
CHINA. PIPELINE OIL THIEVES FACE DEATH PENALTY
MALAYSIA. FORMER SOLDIER SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDER
LEBANON. DEATH PENALTY DROPPED AGAINST PLO HEAD
MALAYSIA. COURT UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCE ON INDONESIAN NATIONAL FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
AUSTRALIA. PRIME MINISTER URGED TO OPPOSE DEATH PENALTY
TEXAS. KEVIN KINCY EXECUTED IN TEXAS
AFGHANISTAN. CHRISTIAN CONVERT GRANTED ASYLUM IN ITALY
JAPAN. DEATH SENTENCE UPHELD FOR 71 YEAR OLD
AFGHANISTAN. CHRISTIAN CONVERT FACING DEATH TO BE RELEASED, US SAYS
CHINA. LEADER OF ORGANIZED CRIME RING SENTENCED TO DEATH
KYRGYZSTAN. DEATH ROW INMATES PETITION PRESIDENT
AFGHANISTAN. COURT DROPS TRIAL OF CHRISTIAN AMID DOUBTS OVER HIS MENTAL STATE
CHINA. WOMAN EXECUTED FOR TRAFFICKING 31 BABY BOYS
AFGHANISTAN. KARZAI SAYS CONVERT WILL NOT BE EXECUTED – CANADA
JORDAN. NINE MILITANTS SENTENCED TO DEATH
PAKISTAN. SHRINE BOMBERS SENTENCED TO DEATH
NIGERIA. MAN TO DIE BY HANGING FOR KILLING OWN DAUGHTER
AFGHANISTAN. GOVERNMENT SAYS COURT TO DECIDE FATE OF CONVERT
TEXAS. INMATE EXECUTED FOR DEATH OF TODDLER
VIETNAM. FORMER CUSTOMS OFFICER EXECUTED FOR CORRUPTION
CHINA. JAPAN'S RICH BUY ORGANS FROM EXECUTED CHINESE PRISONERS
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO. POLICEMAN SENTENCED TO HANG FOR MURDER
MALAYSIA. BAR VOTES AGAINST DEATH PENALTY, CALLS FOR MORATORIUM
DRC. MILITARY COURT CONVICTS TWO OFFICERS OVER KILLINGS
AFGHANISTAN. MAN RISKS DEATH FOR CONVERTING TO CHRISTIANITY
NORTH KOREA. COUNTRY ISSUES DEATH PENALTY DECREE FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS
DRC. COURT SENTENCES RENEGADE SOLDIER TO DEATH
BELARUS. KGB CHIEF THREATENS DEATH SENTENCE FOR POLL PROTESTERS
SYRIA. DISSIDENT LABWANI COULD BE SENTENCED TO DEATH, LAWYER

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