Japanese govt ordered to pay $734 in damages to detainee

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Japanese govt ordered to pay $734 in damages to detainee

TOKYO Kyodo ordered the state on Thursday to pay 100,000 yen $734 in damages over injuries he sustained after he was forcibly restrained at a Tokyo immigration facility in 2018.

The Tokyo District Court ruled that the physical restraint used by immigration officials on the detainee was unlawful. Andre Kussunoki, who was hurt while he was resisting his transfer to a different immigration facility, had sued the Japanese government, saying such action was unnecessary.

In handing down the decision, Presiding Judge Ryota Shimozawa deemed the damages as appropriate due to the dangers that such restraint can bring, the fear felt by the plaintiff and the humiliation he felt at not being respected as a human being. Kussunoki, 35, filed a lawsuit in 2019 seeking 5 million yen in compensation. He claimed that the restraint used by the officials at the Tokyo Regional Immigration Services Bureau amounted to assault.

The incident occurred in October 2018, when officials tried to transfer Kussunoki from Tokyo to an immigration center in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of the capital.

He refused the transfer order and locked himself in a toilet at the Tokyo facility. The officials had to remove him from the toilet and pushed Kussunoki's head to the ground for about eight minutes.

Kussunoki claims that he sustained injuries to his left shoulder, but the court said it couldn't determine if such injuries were caused by the officials during the incident.

The Immigration Services Agency of Japan said it will take appropriate measures after thoroughly examining the ruling.

Foreigners who have received deportation orders are held at the bureau. In recent years, there have been cases of detainees sustaining injuries while being restrained at immigration facilities in Japan.

The treatment of detainees has attracted considerable attention after the death of Ratnayake Liyanage Wishma Sandamali, a Sri Lankan woman, while in detention at an immigration center in central Japan.

The prosecutors dropped charges against 13 then senior officials of the center last week, saying they could not say that the officials did not provide her with appropriate medical care after a month of medical complaints before she died.