A lawyer said Thursday he will sue the government for damages because a prison in Hiroshima illegally turned down his request to meet with a death-row inmate to arrange for a retrial petition — 11 days before the prisoner was hanged late last year, a fact that the attorney had apparently gotten wind of in advance.
“Meetings are permitted under the law on the treatment of prisoners if they pertain to the significant interests of inmates,” said Shuichi Adachi, who was turned away by the Hiroshima Detention House when he tried to meet with Hiroaki Hidaka, 44.
If an inmate seeks a retrial, this constitutes a significant interest, Adachi said, adding, “the refusal of a meeting is against the law.”
Hidaka was hanged on Dec. 25, just 11 days after Adachi visited the detention house.
Hidaka was sentenced to death in February 2000 by the Hiroshima District Court for murdering four women in 1996.
The sentence was finalized after he decided not to appeal.
He was convicted of strangling a 16-year-old girl in a taxi he was driving in Hiroshima, taking 45,000 yen from her person and dumping her corpse in the mountains in April 1996.
He similarly killed three other victims — aged between 23 and 45 — in August and September in the same year, according to the court ruling.
Adachi, prompted by information that Hidaka faced imminent execution, went to see if the convict wanted a retrial or amnesty and requested permission to meet with him.
But Adachi said detention house officials told him the meeting is impermissible because Hidaka had not applied for a retrial.
Adachi argued with the officials for over an hour, saying he needed to confirm Hidaka’s will while asking them to hear what the inmate had to say instead of him, but the request was turned down.
Adachi said he then sent the necessary documents for requesting a retrial or an amnesty to Hidaka but no response came from the prisoner before the execution.
The Hiroshima Detention House said it cannot comment on the case because the complaint has yet to be received.