On October 20, The Supreme Court of Japan rejected an appeal by Mr.
Govinda Prasad Mainali, a Nepalese criminal defendant, and his 1997 murder
conviction was finalized. On April 14, 2000, The Tokyo District Court
originally acquitted Govinda of the charge. However, after the
prosecution's appeal, the Tokyo High Court (appeal court), overturning the
lower court's ruling, and found him guilty on December 22, 2000. The
sentence handed down by Judge Takagi was life imprisonment. The Supreme
Court upheld the High Court's decision, finalizing the life sentence.
The Justice for Govinda - Innocence Advocacy Group, Japan was, and still
is, strongly convinced that every piece of evidence exhibited in the
courts proved his innocence. Our members have been supporting Govinda
since March 2001, and it was with great anger and deep sorrow that we
learned of this outrageous decision.
On the morning of October 22, Mr. Asaka Kanda, one of Govinda's defense
lawyers, visited him for the first time since the rejection of the appeal.
After that, three of us, staff from Justice for Govinda, met him in the
visiting room of the Tokyo Detention Center.
"Strange justice, isn't it?" He told us with a frozen face. His voice
revealed that he was struggling to keep his mind calm and trying to bear
as best he could the court's outrageous decision. "The Supreme Court
rejected my appeal without a word of explanation about how I committed the
crime and how they proved it. Do they have a prejudice against people from
poor countries? Do they ignore them?" He showed us in exasperation the
piece of paper with the court's rejection and continued: "Memos made by
the victim were consistent with mine, weren't they? The police found a
third party's skin hair at the crime site, didn't they? Medical
investigation verified my alibi, didn't it? How were the Supreme Court
Justices able to justify their conviction against me?" His rage and pain
were so intense that we had no words to answer.
His long held feeling, which led to him coming to Japan, that Japan was a
marvelous country with a developed economy and a progressive culture was
totally demolished. The piece of paper that he held in his hand had seen
to that. "What had they been doing these three years to issue such a
flimsy outcome? They were just wasting time in order to pretend to
deliberate on my case, weren't they? Please let the people know that I am
an innocent man by explaining, piece by piece, the evidence that shows my
Despite the cold outcome, he still wants people to know the fact that he
"How long should I be patient before I will be awarded parole?" When he
asked that to us the biggest concern for him was his aged parents. His
sickly mother is 76 years old and his father is 83. From beginning to end
he tried to keep his presence of mind but failed to do so when he came to
the fact that it was impossible for him to see his parents again even if
he is provisionally released from the jail at the earliest opportunity. He
began to weep before us. He asked us to call his wife Radha, who had been
to Japan twice to visit him before, urgently. He also wants to see his
elder brother, Indra, to ask him to take care of his family including his
beloved two daughters. "When Radha came to me last time I was not
expecting such an awful outcome. We talked a lot, assuming I would be
acquitted. With this unexpected decision we need to talk again." At the
same time he thought it best not to see his daughte rs saying, "it is not
a good idea to see them under these horrible circumstances. Prison is a
place where criminals serve their term to atone for wrongdoing. I have no
idea how I will be able to survive life in such a place because I am innocent."
Despite his acquittal by the lower court, higher courts decided to keep
him detained. It is not only a tragedy for him alone that this absurdity
led to another absurdity: the rejection of his appeal. The fact that the
rejection came three weeks after Govinda's lawyers exhibited new evidence,
which bolstered his innocence, revealed that the Supreme Court justices
didn't care to seek for the facts but just rushed to their inaccurate
The Tokyo High Court's verdict itself was constituted only with sophism
and prejudice. Giving an official go-ahead to it, The Supreme Court has
ruined the Japanese justice system irreparably. Judge Fujita, Judge
Kanetani, Judge Hamada and Judge Ueda have shown what an incompetent and
irresponsible justice system Japan, sadly, has.
We at Justice for Govinda will continue a support him and his family until
the day when Govinda is released and can return home to Nepal. We will
continue our protest against Japan's incompetent and mean justice.
Please support us in our fight for justice for Govinda.
Justice for Govinda - Innocence Advocacy Group, Japan
Persecution of a Nepali citizen in Japan - Click Here
Letter from Govinda - Click Here