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Justice for Govinda

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

When I met Govinda Mainali the last time in a jail near Tokyo, I had to speak to him through a Japanese interpreter even though I was talking to a fellow Nepali. He spoke confidently and fluently in Japanese, talking about how he kept his morale up by exercising and looking to the future.

I jokingly asked him if I should keep sending him newspapers and magazines from Nepal because they contained news of the conflict and were so depressing. He replied: ‚ÄúAny news from Nepal cheers, me up because it shows me the possibilities.‚ÄĚ

Mainali was accused of murdering and robbing a woman in Tokyo‚Äôs Shibuya district in 1997, tried and convicted to life imprisonment. Many Japanese lawyers, activists and friends of Nepal were convinced about Govinda‚Äôs innocence and set up the ‚ÄėJustice for Govinda‚Äô movement. They felt the whole court proceedings were flawed, the police had framed an innocent and vulnerable foreigner with fake evidence just to show they were doing their job.

On Thursday, there was finally a light at the end of the tunnel for Govinda as a test with new techniques not available in 1997 found that DNA in the body fluid left on the victim’s body did not match Govinda‚Äôs. The victim was a 39-year-old office employee who sought sex regularly in Tokyo‚Äôs red light district in the evenings after work.

The test was conducted at the request of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office proved that the fluid matched that of the hair another man at the murder scene.

Govinda’s lawyers are now asking for a retrial. Govinda, now 44 years old has spent more than 13 years behind bars. He has a wife and two daughters in Nepal. The Justice for Govinda Movement raised funds to pay for annual visits by his family to him in jail to keep his morale up.

For more on my coverage of Govinda’s story since 2000, when I first met him, here are the links in Nepali Times:

Here comes the story of Govinda Mainali, 2001

Radha visits Govinda in jail, 2002

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2 Responses to “Justice for Govinda”

  1. Sameer on Says:

    You are a good person Kunda, for taking up the case of a an innocent man framed so ruthlessly the Japanese cops.

  2. Nimesh on Says:

    Thank you for the update. I had covered this news on 2001/02. But today i am very happy about the progress being going on in the case. Hope, Govinda will be free from the cave with full compensation.

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