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Execution chamber at Tokyo Detention Center
JAPAN: SUPREME COURT NULLIFIES TWO DEATH SENTENCES HANDED DOWN IN LAY JUDGE TRIALS

February 3, 2015: the Supreme Court of Japan upheld two separate high court rulings that overturned death sentences handed down in lay judge trials to two men facing robbery-murder charges.
The high courts commuted the sentences of the two men to life in prison as they thought capital punishment was too heavy.
It is the first time a death penalty issued by a panel involving citizen judges has been nullified by the Supreme Court since the lay judge system was introduced in Japan in May 2009 to reflect “common sense” in criminal trials, which have often been criticized for being difficult to comprehend and out of touch with popular sentiment.
On the latest decision, the top court said a death sentence is “an ultimate punishment that takes the defendant’s life” and judges “need to carefully consider it and show concrete evidence” that the punishment cannot be helped.
“It has no meaning to compare in detail (the cases) with legal precedent in the past, but we have to give sufficient consideration so that they will not be treated unfairly,” the top court said, adding that there is a need to balance judgments between professional judges and ordinary citizens.
The two cases involved the murder of a 74-year-old man in an apartment in Tokyo’s Minamiaoyama district in November 2009, and the murder of a 21-year-old university student at her home in Chiba Prefecture in October 2009.
The Tokyo and Chiba district courts sentenced the two men to death in 2011, in separate lay judge trials. But the rulings were overturned in 2013 by the Tokyo High Court, where the cases were examined only by professional judges. A total of 22 death sentences have so far been handed down in lay judge trials, which is overseen by a panel of three professional judges and six ordinary citizens. (Sources: Kyodo, 04/02/2015)

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: GOVERNMENT, 13 PEOPLE ON DEATH ROW WILL BE EXECUTED THIS YEAR
SOMALIA: SOMALILAND TO EXECUTE DEATH PENALTY CASES
CROWD-FUNDING CAMPAIGN
SAUDI ARABIA: EIGHT MEN BEHEADED IN THREE DIFFERENT CITIES
USA (TEXAS): SEVENTH EXECUTION OF 2015
JORDAN: TWO CONVICTED TERRORISTS EXECUTED IN RETALIATION FOR PILOT’S KILLING BY ISLAMIC STATE
SAUDI ARABIA: TWO CONVICTED RAPISTS AND A MURDERER BEHEADED
SRI LANKA: JUSTICE MINISTER, READY TO IMPLEMENT DEATH SENTENCE
PAKISTAN: TWO MORE CONVICTED TERRORISTS HANGED IN KARACHI
IRAN: FIVE PRISONERS HANGED IN RASHT AND MASHHAD
IRAN: 2 PRISONERS HANGED IN ORUMIEH PRISON
SOUTH KOREA: SOLDIER GETS DEATH PENALTY FOR DEADLY SHOOTING SPREE
EGYPT: DEATH PENALTY CONFIRMED FOR 183 OVER POLICE KILLINGS
UAE: 2 BANGLADESHIS TO RELIEVE FROM DEATH SENTENCE IN DUBAI
CHINA: 2 FROM BANNED SECT EXECUTED FOR MURDER AT MCDONALD'S
SAUDI ARABIA: MURDERER BEHEADED, 5TH EXECUTION UNDER NEW KING

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