After 15 years in Japanese prison, 45 year old Govinda Prasad Mainali returned to his home country of Nepal for the first time in 18 years. Mainali was released from prison on June 7th after new DNA evidence proved that he could not have been present at the time of the murder of a 39 year old Japanese woman in 1997, and while he wasn’t declared innocent of the crime, he was deported from Japan on Friday while proceedings begin for a retrial. After returning to Nepal and speaking with reporters, however, he stated that he was mistreated by Japanese prison authorities.
At the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, Govinda Prasad Mainali said that since the final verdict for his case has yet to be decided, he couldn’t go into too many details. But he did share that he was not allowed to meet or exchange letters with his family, and he was spoken to in abusive language. Human rights activists claim that he was tortured, but Mainali would not comment on that. The Kathmandu airport lobby was practically crushed by journalists, numbering more than 100 and almost half of them Japanese, all awaiting his arrival. Mainali had to be escorted by police to safely leave the airport.
Upon his arrival, Mainali was greeted by his 79 year old mother and other family members, and had his wife and two daughters by his side. He told reporters that while he was wrongly imprisoned for 15 years, there were no words to express how happy he was to be home with his family again. He also gave thanks to all the people who have fought for his justice in Japan. Mainali first traveled to Japan 1994, and after being taken into custody in 1997 for overstaying his visa, he accused and convicted of the murder of a Tokyo Electric Power Co. employee who spent her nights working as a prostitute. Despite being acquitted in 2000 by the Tokyo District Court, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling in 2003, and he was given a life sentence.