Longest time on death row
Iwao Hakamada
45 year(s)
Japan ()

Iwao Hakamada (Japan, b. 10 March 1936) had been on death row in Japan for 45 years when he was freed in March 2014, following suggestions that police investigators may have fabricated the evidence upon which he was convicted. That makes him the world’s longest serving death row prisoner.

A former professional boxer, Hakamada was convicted in 1968 of having murdered a family in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1966. The conviction was based partially on blood stains, believed to be Hakamada’s, found on clothing – however, in 2008, DNA testing proved that the blood was not his. Death row prisoners in Japan can be executed at just a few hours’ notice – meaning that during his captivity, much of which was spent in solitary confinement, Hakamada would have awoken every day not knowing whether it would be his last.