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Supposed child murderer freed on DNA evidence

A 62-YEAR-OLD Japanese man serving a life sentence on murder charges was freed yesterday after more than 17 years in jail when new DNA tests indicated his innocence.

"I want my life back," Toshikazu Sugaya told a nationally televised news conference after being released from a jail in Chiba, east of Tokyo. "I speak with confidence that I am innocent."

The Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office recommended to the Tokyo High Court that Sugaya be released immediately because of the new test results.

Sugaya, then a bus driver for a kindergarten, was arrested in late 1991 in the murder of a 4-year-old girl in Tochigi, north of Tokyo, in 1990.

The local district court sentenced him to life imprisonment in 1993, and Japan's top court rejected his appeal in 2000.

"I want an apology from policemen and prosecutors," Sugaya said.

"I want to visit my parents' graves. I want policemen and prosecutors to visit the graves and apologize."


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