JAPAN: JURORS HAND DOWN FIRST DEATH SENTENCE
November 16, 2010: a Japanese jury trial sent a man to the gallows for a double murder in the country's first death penalty ruling by jurors.
Hiroyuki Ikeda, 32, was convicted of kidnapping and killing the two men, aged 28 and 36, last year on the orders of a fugitive drug-ring gangster.
Yokohama District Court presiding judge Yoshifumi Asayama -- who oversaw the trial involving six jurors -- described the crimes as "too cruel and inhumane" for Ikeda to be spared capital punishment, public broadcaster NHK said.
The sentence -- decided by six members of the jury and three professional judges -- was the first time the death penalty was handed down since Japan introduced the so-called lay-judge system in May last year. (Sources: Agence France Presse, 16/11/2010)