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Japan bar association calls for moratorium on executions

[JURIST] Japan's national bar association Thursday criticized the execution of three death row inmates and called for a moratorium on the death penalty [press release, in Japanese] until new safeguards can be enacted to prevent wrongful executions based on dubious evidence. The Federation of Bar Associations [group website] said that flaws in the justice system create a high risk for condemning innocent lives, pointing to a history of death row inmates who were later exonerated. Japanese courts rely heavily on confessions, often obtained by police after prolonged interrogations, sometimes lasting up to 23 days, or after beating or intimidating the suspect, according to a July 2006 report [text] from Amnesty International. Bloomberg has more.

Earlier this week, US use of the death penalty [JURIST news archive] drew criticism as Texas executed its 400th inmate [AP report] since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. The European Union urged Texas Gov. Rick Perry to halt all executions in the state, but he rejected a moratorium [JURIST reports], saying that Texans have decided that "the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens."

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