Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Death penalty sought for jailed Peruvian in Japan

Perhaps by now you’ve heard that Joran van der Sloot- the Dutch teen who was the main suspect in the 2005 Natalie Holloway disappearance- confessed to killing a 21-year-old Peruvian last month. While the murder of Stephany Flores continues to make headlines worldwide, it's worth noting the fate of a Peruvian convicted of murder half a world away.

In 2006, thirty-eight-year-old Jose Manuel Torres Yagi was convicted in a Japanese court for violating and murdering a young girl in Hiroshima. Originally sentenced to life in jail, Yagi’s case was sent to a retrial in 2008 on the grounds that prosecutors withheld key evidence.

During the retrial the defense argued that Yagi was mentally unstable and that he did not kill the girl premeditatedly. Prosecutors, meanwhile, submitted his criminal past against minors in Peru as evidence and argued that Yagi should be punished with the death penalty.

Yagi’s fate will be decided next month at a sentencing hearing. If the prosecutors have their way, Yagi would be the first Latin American to be sentenced to death in Japan.

For his part, Van der Sloot could face a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison if convicted of the killing of Flores in a Lima hotel room.

Image- Christian Science Monitor (“In this May 27, 2008 file photo, the gurney used to restrain condemned prisoners during the lethal injection process is shown in Huntsville, Texas.”)
Online Sources- Mainichi Daily News, 24 Horas Peru, La Republica

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