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Japan orders death row inmate freed

on March 27, 2014 10:00 AM

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese court has decided to release a man on death row for more than 30 years in a high-profile murder case based on new DNA evidence.

The Shizuoka District Court today suspended the death sentence for Iwao Hakamada, 78, and ordered him released after 48 years behind bars. Guinness World Records lists him as the longest-serving death row inmate. The top court sentenced him to death in 1980.

The court says DNA analysis obtained by his lawyers suggests investigators fabricated evidence. It also ordered a retrial.

The ruling underscores Japan’s much-criticized closed interrogations that rely heavily on self-confession.

Hakamada, a professional boxer, was convicted of killing a company manager and his family and setting fire to their central Japan home, where he was a live-in employee.

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