Conflicts & War

Japanese man sentenced to death for murder of 19 at care home

Tokyo, Mar 16 (efe-epa).- A 30-year-old Japanese man was sentenced to death on Monday over a 2016 stabbing massacre at a care home for people with disabilities in which 19 people were killed.

In the early morning of July 26, 2016, Satoshi Uematsu broke into a residence for people with cognitive disabilities in the town of Sagamihara, some 50 kilometers west of Tokyo, and attacked the occupants while they slept.

The attack lasted some 50 minutes while he fatally stabbed 19 residents aged between 19 and 70, and injured 24 others.

Uematsu, who worked in the center for three-and-a-half years, had admitted to the killings and insisted people with disabilities who are unable to communicate well have no human rights, according to Kyodo news agency.

Before Yokohama District Court sentenced him to death by hanging on Monday, he had also reportedly said that he had no intention of appealing the ruling, whatever the outcome.

“The grave consequence was incomparable to other incidents with 19 lives being taken,” Yokohama District Court judge Kiyoshi Aonuma said in handing down the sentence, Kyodo reported.

The Sagamihara massacre was one of the worst mass killings in post-war Japan and had shocked and outraged the country where some had pointed out that the tragedy could have been avoided.

In February prior to the incident, Uematsu had written a letter to parliament’s lower house speaker, where he had explained plans “to wipe out a total of 470 disabled individuals” and said that he envisioned a world “where a person with multiple disabilities can be euthanized.”

“I believe there is still no answer about the way of life for individuals with multiple disabilities. The disabled can only create misery,” he added.

Uematsu had also reportedly talked about his plans to co-workers and some of his acquaintances and which had led to a police investigation, following which he was placed under psychiatric care.

His defense had entered a plea of not guilty, claiming that he was suffering from a psychiatric disorder at the time of the attack. The argument was rejected by the court, with prosecutors saying he was capable of taking responsibility for it. EFE-EPA


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