Nepalese demands compensation after 15 years in Japan jail

Filed on December 30, 2012

A Nepalese man acquitted last month of murdering a prostitute after serving 15 years in a Japanese jail is seeking $790,000 in compensation for his time behind bars, according to a press report Sunday.

Govinda Prasad Mainali, 46, was freed and sent back to Nepal in June after his request for a retrial was approved.

He was tried and cleared of murder in his absence by the Tokyo District Court last month, after a DNA test indicated another man was responsible for killing a businesswoman who worked at night as a prostitute, in Tokyo in 1997.

Mainali filed the request for compensation with the court on Friday under a law which allows a person to seek compensation for wrongful imprisonment at a rate of between 1,000 and 12,500 yen ($12-145) per day, the Japan Times reported.

He is seeking the maximum rate — totalling some 68 million yen for 15 years — and may also file a lawsuit for damages, the report said.

In 2000, after he had already spent three years behind bars for the killing, the Tokyo court found Mainali guilty of murdering the 39-year-old and sentenced him to life in prison, overturning a lower court’s earlier verdict of not guilty.

After his release he told reporters in Nepal that Japan’s justice system had overlooked crucial evidence, including DNA from semen found inside the dead woman and of biological samples taken from under her fingernails.

No one else has been arrested in connection with the murder.

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