Japan wrong to detain Ghosn, experts say

A panel of human rights experts working with the United Nations said Monday that former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn was wrongly detained in Japan and has urged “compensation” for him from the Japanese government.

Japan denounced the report as a “totally unacceptable” viewpoint that will change nothing in the country’s legal process.

In its opinion, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Ghosn’s detention in Japan in late 2018 and early 2019 was “arbitrary” and called on Japan’s government to “take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of Mr. Ghosn without delay.” A determination of whether detention is arbitrary is based on various criteria, including international norms of justice.

Ghosn, a 66-year-old with French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, led Japanese automaker Nissan for two decades, rescuing it from near-bankruptcy. He was arrested in November 2018 on charges of breach of trust, misusing company assets for personal gain, and violating securities laws in not fully disclosing his compensation. He denies wrongdoing.

In December 2019, he fled to Lebanon while out on bail awaiting trial, meaning his case will not go on in Japan. Interpol has issued a wanted notice, but his extradition is unlikely.

The opinions of the working group are not binding on countries but aim to hold them to their own human rights commitments.

Japan’s system has been repeatedly criticized by human rights advocates. The panel cited previous concerns about Japan’s “daiyo kangoku” system of detention and interrogation, which relies heavily on confessions and could expose detainees to torture, ill-treatment and coercion.

— Associated Press


113 bodies found in secret grave in Jalisco

Mexican authorities have recovered 113 bodies and additional human remains from a secret grave outside the western city of Guadalajara.

Jalisco state attorney Gerardo Octavio Solís said Sunday night that 30 of the victims had been identified.

The state is home to the Jalisco New Generation cartel, one of Mexico’s most violent and powerful. More bodies have been found in secret graves there than in any other state in recent years.

According to Mexico’s Interior Ministry, from 2006 through Sept. 30 of this year, 897 bodies had been recovered from secret graves in Jalisco, 605 of those during the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office in December 2018.

The burial ground in El Salto, southeast of Guadalajara, was found in October.

In late October, at least 59 bodies were recovered from a gravesite in neighboring Guanajuato state.

Mexico has struggled with a staggering number of disappeared people. The federal government reported in October that more than 75,000 people have disappeared since 2006. Last year had the highest total, with more than 8,300 missing.

Since 2006, 4,092 secret graves have been found with about 6,900 bodies across all of Mexico.

— Associated Press

French ex-president Sarkozy stands trial: Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy went on trial on charges of corruption and influence peddling in a phone-tapping scandal, a first for the 65-year-old politician, who has faced several other judicial investigations since leaving office in 2012. Sarkozy, who remained popular among French right-wing voters, is accused of trying to illegally obtain information from a magistrate about an investigation involving him in 2014. Sarkozy is standing trial in a Paris court along with his attorney and the magistrate. They could face prison sentences of up to 10 years and maximum fines of 1 million euros ($1.2 million). They deny any wrongdoing.

U.S. provides missiles, renews pledge to defend Philippines: The United States has provided precision-guided missiles and other weapons to help the Philippines battle Islamic State-aligned militants and renewed a pledge to defend its treaty ally if it comes under attack in the disputed South China Sea. National security adviser Robert C. O’Brien announced the delivery of the missiles and bombs in Manila, the capital. He also expressed condolences over back-to-back typhoons that left a trail of death and devastation in the Philippines. President Trump had pledged to provide the $18 million worth of missiles in a phone call with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in April, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said.

— From news services

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