Death row inmates suing over being told they’ll die hours before execution

Death row inmates are suing their captors because they are told only hours before their death that the penalty will go ahead.

Two prisoners in Japan slammed the "inhumane" practice of notifying doomed death row inmates the same day as their killing.

Capital punishment in Japan is conducted by hanging.

Human rights campaigners have long criticised the practice of notifying prisoners only hours before their death sentence as it causes "cruel" stress among death row inmates whose every day could be their last.

And on Thursday, two prisoners sentenced to death hit back with a lawsuit in Osaka, western Japan.

They accuse the government of breaking the law by not allowing prisoners time to file an objection.

The pair are demanding the practice end and are asking for 22 million yen (£143,000) in compensation, local media reported on Friday.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs said the short window before the killings was unnecessarily cruel on the part of the state.

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They said: "Death row prisoners live in fear every morning that that day will be their last.

"It is extremely inhumane."

The lawyer added that the practice violates Japan's criminal code, Kyodo news agency reported.

A Justice Ministry spokesman declined to comment on the case or the death penalty in general, Reuters reported.

Capital punishment has extremely high support among the Japanese public.

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Death sentences are reserved for convicted murderers and members of yakuza crime gangs.

No executions were carried out in Japan in 2020 – the first year without an execution since 2011 – and none have yet taken place in 2021.

There are estimated to be around 110 people sentenced to death in Japan, local media said.

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