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Seishin Shinkeigaku Zasshi. 2005;107(7):676-80.

[Final declaration of the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology concerning the participation of psychiatrists in executions].

[Article in Japanese]
[No authors listed]


To begin with, this author has reviewed papers addressing the issue around the participation of psychiatrists in legal executions. The questions of reasoning for the exclusion of the mentally incompetent from execution, what exactly constitutes "competency to be executed," and whether to assess a criminal's competency for execution or to offer treatment to death row inmates who have been found incompetent are under debate. Then, making known the temporary declaration of the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology, the author has told that it should insist in the final declaration as follows: First, the secretiveness with which the Ministry of Justice and the correctional facilities in Japan handle the death penalty cases should be abolished. Second, in the present situation of the medical care in Japanese penal facilities, the employed psychiatrists should not be involved in the examination or the treatment of the death row inmates. Third, nevertheless the psychiatrist should not examine whether the inmate is competent to be executed in principle, this indifference may bring on the execution of the incompetent in present situation of Japan. Forth, it is not permitted ethically to offer the medical treatment to restore the inmate's competency. Fifth, because the Japanese death penalty confronts the false charges, if the capital punishment case requesting for retrial or preparing it reveal mentally abnormal and the condition is so severe that the inmate cannot assist legal counsel appropriately, the inmate should be transferred to hospital to be provided treatment. And finally the inmate whose competency is doubted should automatically be commuted to life imprisonment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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