TOKYO: A Kurdish resident has won a court case against Japan’s Immigration Agency and has been awarded compensation following a beating by officers at the Ibaraki Detention Center.
The lawsuit was heard at the Tokyo District Court on Wednesday and the plaintiff was awarded ¥220,000 yen (about $1,600), including ¥20,000 for attorney fees.
The plaintiff, known as Deniz, was detained for five years at the Ushiku Detention Center in Ibaraki Prefecture. He was married to a Japanese woman and has lived in Japan since 2007, but he was denied eligibility for refugee status and was given notice of expulsion from Japan.
He filed a complaint after being refused medication for the treatment of his insomnia from the staff of the detention center in January 2019.
Seven detention center officers brutally handcuffed him, pressed his throat to prevent him from speaking and transferred him to another cell and immobilized him for a long time.
The Immigration Agency was ordered to compensate him due to excessive use of force. Subsequently, the plaintiff developed post-traumatic stress and attempted suicide, but the court did not recognize the link between the excessive use of force and the stress disorder he suffered.
The case of this Kurdish national highlights the violence inflicted on migrants held in Japan’s immigration centers before their deportation. This has been documented by filmmaker Thomas Ash who was able to film detainees at the Ibaraki center with a hidden camera and obtained footage of beatings by immigration officers.
Some migrants are facing double jeopardy in that they do not have the possibility of being expelled from Japan and can’t stay or work even though they are married to Japanese.
They end up in detention, some for many years, without judicial supervision and in defiance of international conventions on the treatment of detainees. The Immigration Agency has the discretion to regulate the lengths of detention of immigrants.
This case comes during parliamentary discussions on the revision of the law on immigration. The Minister of Justice agreed on Wednesday to reduce the time spend in detention.
When announcing his victory to his supporters, Deniz said he hoped it would help other immigrants who have suffered in similar cases.