Wednesday 21 August 2019

Ghosn’s lawyers appeal to Japan Supreme Court over detention

The former Nissan chairman’s detention has been extended through to Sunday but may be prolonged.

Carlos Ghosn (Takuya Inaba/Kyodo News via AP)
Carlos Ghosn (Takuya Inaba/Kyodo News via AP)

By Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press

Lawyers for Nissan’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn, who was sent back to detention while out on bail, have filed a protest with the Japanese Supreme Court.

Lawyer Junichiro Hironaka told reporters that Ghosn’s fourth and latest arrest is unfair.

Ghosn was arrested in November and released on bail last month but re-arrested last week.

Multiple arrests and long detentions are routine in Japan, but arresting a suspect who cleared bail is unusual.

Lawyer Junichiro Hironaka (Koji Sasahara/AP)

Ghosn’s detention has been extended through to Sunday but may be prolonged.

He is charged with falsifying financial documents in under-reporting his retirement compensation and breach of trust in what prosecutors call dubious payments.

He says he is innocent, noting the compensation was never decided or paid and the payments were for legitimate services.

The latest arrest is over suspicion that Nissan money paid to a dealership was diverted to a company effectively controlled by Ghosn.

Mr Hironaka was among 1,010 lawyers, academics and other legal professionals who signed a call to eliminate Japan’s so-called “hostage justice”.

Kaku Imamura, a lawyer who led the initiative, told reporters that Ghosn’s case has set off international criticism about the longtime detentions without convictions.

Detention is used as a form of torture. It becomes difficult for people to get a fair trial Kaku Imamura, lawyer

He said innocent people who refuse to sign confessions suffer and are kept for months, sometimes years, even for relatively minor charges that will not result in prison time.

During detention, prosecutors can grill the suspect for more than eight hours, he said, while the suspect’s contact with lawyers is limited, and often banned with family and friends.

He declined comment on the specifics of Ghosn’s case.

“Detention is used as a form of torture,” Mr Imamura said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.

“It becomes difficult for people to get a fair trial.”

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