Two applicants for refugee status in Japan sued the government on Thursday, claiming that painful and arbitrary detentions by the country’s immigration authorities violate international law.
In the lawsuit filed with Tokyo District Court, the two plaintiffs demand a total of ¥30 million in damages.
According to the written complaint and other sources, the two are a 53-year-old Iranian man and a 42-year-old Turkish man. They were detained at immigration facilities for a total of 1,357 days and 1,384 days, respectively, between 2016 and 2020, due to overstaying. They have been released provisionally.
In September 2020, a task force of the U.N. Human Rights Council issued a written opinion that the detention of the two men in Japan violated the international covenants on human rights.
Pointing out that the international covenants, which Japan has ratified, ban unreasonable and unnecessary detentions, the two plaintiffs claim that their prolonged detentions lacked rationality and therefore should be compensated.
“I was shocked to be told (at an immigration facility) that I wouldn’t be freed unless I decide to return to my home country,” the Iranian man, Heydar Safari Diman, said in Japanese at a news conference on Thursday.
The Turkish man, called Deniz, said he had tried to commit suicide several times while he was detained.
The Immigration Services Agency’s related division said that it will respond appropriately after receiving the written complaint.
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