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Japanese Cases Spotlight False Confession

Posted May 11, 2007 8:29 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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False confessions are a problem in Japan, where recent cases highlight abuses in police interrogation methods.

In one case detailed by the New York Times, a judge acquitted six people who had confessed to buying votes with liquor, money and parties. Police had ordered one of the suspects to shout her confession out a window and another to stomp on the names of his loved ones.

The court said the confessions were false, made “in despair while going through marathon questioning.”

Human rights groups say Japanese police too often rely on confessions rather than solid evidence. Interrogations can drag on for days and even weeks. Police can hold suspects for 23 days without indicting them.

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