Tokyo court to decide on Mainali's retrial in June
KATHMANDU, May 26: The family of a Nepali citizen, Govinda Prasad Mainali who is serving a life term in Japan after being convicted of the murder of a female employee of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) in 1997, is confident that he will get a retrial.
Govinda´s brother Indra Prasad said nine senior advocates appointed by the Japanese Bar Association to defend Mainali believe that the evidences support his innocence.
Indra Prasad revealed that the Tokyo High Court concluded its deliberations on an appeal for retrial by his 45-year-old brother for a retrial on Wednesday and is expected to notify the defense counsel about its decision in a few days.
Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun published an article on Thursday attributing “sources close to prosecution authorities” that Govinda may get a retrial. “Evidences are in favor of Mainali, leading some prosecutors to believe he may get a retrial,” the Mainichi Shimbun reported.
Govinda, who arrived in Japan in 1994, worked as a waiter in Tokyo until the police arrested him in March 1997. He was first held on the charge of overstaying his visa, but later got implicated on the charge of murdering 39-year-old Yasuko Watanabe, a TEPCO employee who worked as a prostitute. Watanabe was killed on March 8, 1997.
Tokyo District Court found him not guilty in April, 2000. But the prosecution, presenting selective evidence, appealed to the Tokyo High Court which found him guilty and sentenced him to life-term imprisonment, largely based on circumstantial evidence.
The Tokyo High Court had ordered a reexamination of evidences last year following the appeal for retrial and two crucial evidences, which were evidently not presented by the prosecution back then. First DNA tests in July, 2011 revealed that semen sample collected from the woman´s body was not his, suggesting the presence of another man in the room at the time of the murder. Then came the revelation that blood group of saliva traces found on the breast of Watanabe did not match that of Mainali.
The defense counsel is so confident about retrial that ´Justice for Govinda-Innocence Advocacy Group Japan´ is planning to take his wife Radha and two daughters to Japan in the second week of June when they expect the Tokyo High Court to decide on the retrial petition.
“We always believed that he is innocent. If he were a citizen of a rich and powerful country he would never have been convicted,” Indra stated. “We hope his innocence will finally be established,” he added.