U.S. Marine petitions for fair trial in rape case

Kyodo

A U.S. Marine Corps major on trial for attempted rape has sent a petition to U.S. Ambassador to Japan Howard Baker, maintaining that he is not receiving a fair trial and calling on the U.S. government to lodge a formal complaint, it was learned Saturday.

According to a lawyer for 40-year-old Michael Brown, the petition was submitted in person by the major to the U.S. consulate general in Okinawa on Thursday. In the petition, Brown said Japanese prosecutors “have fabricated evidence and are lying.”

Brown stands accused of attempting to rape a woman in a parked car in the city of Gushikawa, Okinawa Prefecture, between 1:30 a.m. and 1:50 a.m. on Nov. 2 last year. While he admits to being with the woman, he has denied trying to rape her. Brown, who is based at Camp Courtney in Gushikawa, was handed over to Japanese authorities on Dec. 19 and released on bail in May.

During the ongoing trial at Naha District Court, prosecutors submitted as evidence statements by the woman during police questioning in which she expressed strong desire for the defendant to be punished. During the trial itself, however, the woman said she did not intend to file criminal charges against Brown.

As for details of the alleged assault that appear in the statement, she testified in court that “it was too dark to see anything.”

Brown asked the court to remove the three judges currently hearing the case on the grounds they decided to accept the woman’s statements to police as evidence, but the request was rejected. He has appealed this decision to the Fukuoka High Court.