Japan committed ‘abuse’ by keeping Carlos Ghosn in jail, UN panel says
A United Nations human rights panel says Japan committed an “extrajudicial abuse of process” by arresting ex-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn multiple times to keep him in jail for months.
The UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued the finding in a 17-page report accusing Japanese authorities of violating the fugitive auto honcho’s rights when they charged him with various financial crimes stemming from his time at Nissan.
The panel said it was “fundamentally unfair” for prosecutors to arrest Ghosn on four separate occasions so they could jail him for a total of 129 days in late 2018 and early 2019. Ghosn’s lawyers alleged that he was subjected to harsh conditions — such as solitary confinement and a lack of heating in his cell — as they tried to force a confession out of of him, according to the report.
While the panel’s opinions are not binding, it said Japan should give Ghosn “an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law,” and conduct an independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding his “arbitrary” detention.
But the recommendations were shot down by officials in Japan, which Ghosn escaped last December when he dramatically fled from Tokyo to Beirut. Japanese prosecutors are also trying to extradite two Americans who helped ferry him out of the country, former Green Beret Michael Taylor and his son Peter Taylor.
The Japanese foreign ministry slammed the UN report as “totally unacceptable” and said officials followed appropriate procedures in Ghosn’s case. Officials added that it was inappropriate for the panel to make a decision “based on limited information and biased allegations” from Ghosn’s team when prosecutors could not share full details about the case before a trial had started.
The opinion could “encourage those who would stand criminal trial to entertain the idea that flight can be justified and prevent the realization of justice and the proper functioning of the criminal justice system in each country,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
However, the UN panel said it wasn’t expressing a view on the circumstances surrounding Ghosn’s departure from Japan and that its opinion in the case “should not be construed as condoning” his decision to flee.
A lawyer for Ghosn said he was “very happy” about the panel’s decision. The 66-year-old Brazil native has denied Japan’s allegations against him and claimed he fled to escape “persecution.”
“He is somehow is getting back his dignity because he’s been humiliated during this time that he was held in Japan,” said the lawyer, Jessica Finelle.
With Post wires
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