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Amnesty International Appeals for Commutation of Japanese Death Sentence

April 9, 1987

LONDON (AP) _ Amnesty International has appealed to Japan to commute the sentence of a 95-year-old death row inmate who is reported to have become critically ill.

The London-based human rights monitoring organization reported Wednesday that Japan’s Justice Ministry said inmate Sadamichi Hirasawa’s condition is serious.

Hirasawa, an artist, was sentenced to death in 1950 after conviction for the murders of 12 bank staffers who were poisoned after a 1948 Tokyo bank robbery. He maintains he is innocent and says police forced him to confess. His 17th appeal for a retrial was rejected in September 1986.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty, saying it is the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

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