Lawyers for a 37-year-old Nepalese man whose life sentence for murder was upheld this week by the Supreme Court are preparing to file for a retrial, it was learned Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the nation’s top court upheld a Tokyo High Court-imposed life prison term handed down in December 2000 to restaurant employee Govinda Prasad Mainali, who despite a district court acquittal was found guilty of strangling a woman in 1997 and stealing 40,000 yen of her money.

The woman was an employee of Tokyo Electric Power Co. She was found dead in a vacant flat next to an apartment where Govinda was living at the time of the slaying.

After hearing the top court decision, Hiroshi Kamiyama, the head of Mainali’s defense team, told the media that the evidence in the trial proves his client’s innocence and that the Supreme Court clearly misruled by ignoring the objective facts in the case.

As an immediate response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the defense plans to file a formal objection by the Thursday deadline.

Meanwhile, Mainali, who received a letter from the top court Tuesday saying it had rejected his appeal, expressed his anger over the decision and his fears toward the prospect of life imprisonment, according to a supporter who visited him Wednesday at the Tokyo Detention House.

“The top court did not even explain why (it rejected his appeal) after holding it up in the air for nearly three years,” Mainali was quoted as saying by Mikiko Kyakuno, a member of a citizens’ group who supports him.

“I still consider Japan a wonderful country, but its justice system is (flawed),” he was quoted as saying, reiterating his innocence.

Kyakuno said he regretted that he would never see his parents again, as they are too old and ill to visit Japan. He also said he wonders how he can explain his situation to his family in Nepal, because he gave his wife and brother reason for optimism when they separately visited Japan earlier this year, she said.

Once he begins serving his term, Mainali will only be able to meet his family and lawyers on limited occasions. Kyakuno’s group said it plans to invite his wife, Radha, to Japan as soon as she acquires a visa so she can meet Mainali before he goes to prison.

During the trial, prosecutors were not able to present any direct evidence linking Mainali to the crime. The Tokyo District Court in April 2000 acquitted him, judging the circumstantial evidence presented in court left reasonable doubt.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.