Sugaya files objection after being barred from voting

Kyodo News

The defense counsel of a 62-year-old man believed wrongly convicted of a 1990 murder in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, has filed an objection with a local election committee over its decision to bar him from voting in the Aug. 30 general election.

The defense team for Toshikazu Sugaya, who is expected to be acquitted of the murder of a 4-year-old girl in a yet-to-be-scheduled retrial, on Tuesday blasted the decision by the city of Ashikaga’s committee as “unjust.”

The defense lawyers said they had asked the election committee on Aug. 12 to restore Sugaya’s right to vote so he could participate in the Aug. 30 House of Representatives election.

But the committee turned down the request, saying his guilt, finalized by a 2000 Supreme Court ruling, would not lose its validity even if there is a retrial or the sentence is suspended, according to the lawyers.

Under the law, someone who has been convicted is not eligible to vote until the sentence is completed.