Justice minister denies Mainali was mistreated in prison

Kyodo

Justice Minister Makoto Taki has denied that Govinda Prasad Mainali physically mistreated during his 15 years behind bars.

Mainali, a Nepalese who was granted a retrial June 7 over his conviction in a 1997 Tokyo murder case and returned to his home country, told reporters in Japanese in Nepal on Saturday that he was beaten by prison guards.

Taki said at his regularly scheduled news conference Tuesday he has received a report from the Yokohama Prison, where Mainali was incarcerated, that there were no acts of physical mistreatment against him.

Following Mainali’s remarks, prison officials questioned guards and confirmed that there were no records of Mainali receiving medical treatment that would support his allegation, Taki and Justice Ministry officials said.

Taki expressed concerns that Mainali, who was deported by Japan, will likely not be present for the retrial at the Tokyo High Court. He said there is a need to study this issue for future retrials.

The Tokyo High Court decided to reopen the high-profile murder case after new DNA testing pointed to Mainali’s innocence.

Following the court decision, he was released from prison and moved to an immigration facility.

Later, immigration authorities issued an order to deport Mainali, who had overstayed his visa in 1997.

He left Japan on Friday for home via Thailand and landed in Katmandu the following day.

“They (prison guards) did not allow me to exchange letters with my family. They abused me verbally,” Mainali told reporters in Nepalese shortly after returning to Nepal for the first time in 18 years.

Mainali said in Japanese he came under severe mistreatment as he was beaten by prison guards.