About this group

Welcome to the Devizes Group of Amnesty International, formed in August 2010. The Group normally meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 7.30 pm in The Lamb Inn, 20 St John's Street, Devizes, just behind Devizes Town Hall.

The Group has three aims:

  • to act as a forum for local Amnesty supporters and sympathisers;
  • to mount a programme of activities locally to spread awareness of Amnesty and its campaigns for human rights;
  • to raise funds on behalf of Amnesty.

The group has decided that its priority focus will be the abolition of the death penalty, and has been assigned an Individual at Risk: Hakamada Iwao.  The 74 year old former professional boxer has been on death row in Japan since 1968. He was convicted after an unfair trial of the 1966 murder of the boss of the factory where he worked, the man's wife and two children.

One of the judges who convicted him stated publically in 2007 that he believed Hakamada was innocent.  He said that during the trial he had argued with the other two judges that they should find him not guilty, but he was out-voted.
Hakamada has appealed his sentence twice without success and his petitions for a retrial were rejected three times, most recently in March 2008. Last year a delegation from AIUK pressed the Japanese authorities for justice in the case drawing attention to the circumstances of his original conviction, the amount of time he has spent on death row and his mental health.