• Kyodo


The Nagoya District Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday indicted a deputy chief guard at Nagoya Prison on charges of assault resulting in the death of a male inmate in 2001.

Mikio Otomaru, 46, is the seventh officer at the prison to be indicted for allegedly abusing prisoners.

The six others were indicted last year on charges of inflicting serious injuries in May and September on two other inmates, one of whom died.

According to the indictment, Otomaru aimed water from a high-pressure fire hose at the 43-year-old inmate’s bare buttocks Dec. 14, 2001. The attack, which took place in a prison cell, was apparently aimed at punishing the inmate for unruly behavior.

He suffered serious injuries to his rectum and anus as a result, and he died of an infection the following afternoon.

The inmate was serving a term of five years and five months for robbery.

Otomaru has denied the allegations leveled against him, claiming that the water was used to wash the inmate’s body and not to punish him, according to the office.

He has also stated that the water pressure was not high.

Fresh allegations

Compiled from Kyodo, staff reports A Nagoya Prison inmate has filed a criminal complaint with prosecutors, claiming he was assaulted by four guards last July with the same type of “punishment” that killed another inmate two months earlier.

According to the complaint, the 36-year-old inmate was pushed down stairs and kicked in the left ear when he was taken to a solitary cell by four guards after he caused trouble with another inmate.

He was allegedly then left in solitary confinement for two or three hours in a leather restraining device that was cinched so tight it damaged his intestinal tract.

These assaults caused inflammation of the intestines, while leaving him with a hearing imparity in his left ear and frequent vertigo and tinnitus bouts, which continue, the complaint says.

If his claim proves true, it will be the fourth confirmed serious assault on inmates at the prison since guards killed an inmate in December 2001 by violating him with a high-pressure fire hose.

Last May, a 49-year-old male inmate died after five guards left him in solitary confinement, bound up tightly in a restraining device gripping his abdomen in a similar manner as that of of the 36-year-old prisoner.

Referring to the earlier incident, the latest complaint said the four guards should be charged with attempted murder, because they must have learned from the death of the 49-year-old inmate what would happen to the 36-year-old.

Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama said Tuesday she had just learned of the latest complaint and declined comment on details.

The ministry has pledged to conduct an internal probe into prison abuse after the May death of the 49-year-old inmate came to light.

Prosecutors have been investigating Nagoya Prison in connection with the December 2001 death, often making it difficult for the ministry to proceed with its probe, Moriyama claimed.

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