• Kyodo

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A lawyer for an inmate at Nagoya Prison charged Tuesday that his client was severely abused by guards who were trying force him to withdraw a petition for a probe into a prior case of abuse.

The 30-year-old inmate had asked the Nagoya Bar Association in April to investigate his claims that prison guards used leather manacles and severely punished him for trivial reasons, the lawyer said.

The association was planning to investigate the inmate’s allegation on Sept. 27, but the meeting was canceled after the prison in Miyoshi, Aichi Prefecture, notified the bar association that the man had been hospitalized.

Five guards at the prison were arrested earlier for allegedly abusing the inmate with restraining devices.

The devices are used on prisoners who pose a high risk of escape, violence or suicide.

The inmate told the lawyer that in September alone, the guards used leather manacles on him 16 times. They also put him in solitary confinement eight times for what they said was unruly behavior.

The inmate also said that between Sept. 12 and 19, the guards assaulted him because he had “an unpleasant look to his eyes,” the lawyer said.

The lawyer said the inmate had agreed to withdraw the request on Sept. 19 after a deputy chief guard of the prison, Akihiko Maeda, 40, forced him to do so, but retracted the agreement on Sept. 25.

Upon hearing the prisoner’s decision, Maeda, 40, reportedly became enraged, handcuffed the inmate and attacked him along with four other guards.

The four others arrested were Takashi Watanabe, 34; Hiromasa Okamoto, 46; Hiroki Ozawa, 27; and Hajime Ikeda, 30.

The lawyer said he is requesting that the Justice Ministry suspend his client’s prison term and is also considering filing a lawsuit against the state seeking compensation for his client’s emotional trauma and psychological counseling.

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