The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) on Monday night screened a short documentary film “Presumed Guilty Creating False Confessions” at its headquarters in Tokyo. The DVD version with English subtitle was also released the same day.
The 45-minute documentary, which the JFBA produced, is about the Shibushi case, in which police and prosecutors forced 12 people, including a local politician, to confess to buying votes prior in an election in Shibushi, Kagoshima Prefecture, in April, 2003. After being held in prisons in a local police station, known as “daiyo kangoku,” the 12 were tried and all acquitted in 2007.
In the symposium after the screening, Yasuhiro Nohira, lawyer for the victims, said “Many people attempted suicide. The long-term detention in substitute prisons within police stations is torture. The justice system in Japan must change.”
Director Hiroo Ikeda said, “The facts the mainstream media didn't cover are that the Shibushi case is not accidental. The Shibusi police had forced confessions before, and a prosecutor called one of the victims during the trial, telling him 'You shouldn't talk much about it,' which was an apparent threat to him.” Ikeda said that no investigation into the case has ever been conducted.
“The chief of Shibushi police might have wanted to perform a valiant service for promotion or both local and prefectural police presumed there must be something suspicious because the general election was coming up at that time,” said Jinpachi Mori, who wrote the screenplay. "Whatever, the police who created such a stupid scenario and the judges who approved the detention cannot be more ridiculous than that.”
The film is scheduled to be screened at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in October, according to JFBA lawyer Shinichiro Koike.© Japan Today