Govt Ordered to Pay Damages over Violence by Immigration Staff

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Tokyo District Court in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Tokyo District Court ordered the government Thursday to pay ¥220,000 in damages to a Turkish Kurd who claimed to have been violently restrained by staff at an immigration facility in Japan.

In the ruling, Presiding Judge Kenji Shinoda said some of the actions of the staff in subduing the 44-year-old man lacked necessity or justification and were illegal. The man had demanded that the government pay some ¥11 million in damages.

The man came to Japan in 2007 and was detained at an immigration facility in 2016 as his refugee status application was rejected.

He was later transferred to the Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center in the Ibaraki Prefecture city of Ushiku, northeast of Tokyo. At the facility, the man protested loudly after being refused a psychotropic drug in January 2019. He was then handcuffed with his hands behind his back in a room, according to the day’s ruling.

In the ruling, the presiding judge said that the action of an immigration worker who pressed his thumbs under the man’s chin for 20 seconds could hardly be regarded as normal as it caused a great deal of pain.

The judge also found the act of pressing the man’s back while he was lying on his stomach and screaming in pain was illegal.

The man, currently on provisional release, said at a press conference that his treatment constituted torture and said that he saw similar cases when he was detained. He said he will file a criminal complaint over assault charges against special civil servants.