HUMAN RIGHTS FOR EACH PERSON REGARDLESS OF AGE, RACE, RELIGION OR POLITICS
HOME | PRISONERS & PRISONS | EXPERIENCES | BOOKS & PRODUCTS | HOW TO HELP | LATEST NEWS | EMAIL
LATEST NEWS
Convicted Japanese trafficker released in Melbourne
A Japanese tourist imprisoned for smuggling heroin into Australia in 1992 has been released and returned to Japan.

The man, 47, is one of five convicted Japanese tourists who were arrested as they were found with 13 kilograms of heroin when they arrived at Melbourne airport in June 1992, flying from Kuala Lumpur.

Their lawyers said they were wrongly convicted due to incorrect translation during police questioning and court hearings.

Although most Australians have never heard of the case, it has received wide coverage in Japan where comparisons have been made to the Schapelle Corby case.

The man, whom an Australian court concluded as being the mastermind, was sentenced to 20 years in prison while the four others were sentenced to 15 years.

''The 14 years of imprisonment was too long for me. When I saw Mt Fuji from the airplane, I was so excited and happy,'' the man told a news conference at Narita airport upon arriving in Japan.

The four were released and returned to Japan in November 2002.

The five have insisted they were set up as traffickers, saying they had their suitcases stolen in Malaysia while they were in a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur on the way to Australia.

The five have maintained that the suitcases were given back to them by a local tour guide containing heroin.

Their lawyers said they were wrongly convicted due to incorrect translation during police questioning and court hearings.

-Kyodo

Convicted drug smuggler freed in Australia
05/13/2006 - THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

The last member of a group of five Japanese travelers imprisoned in Australia for heroin smuggling but who maintained their innocence throughout was paroled Thursday.

Yoshio Katsuno, 47, was released from a prison in Victoria state and immediately deported. He arrived in Japan on Friday.

Katsuno and the four others arrived at Melbourne Airport from Malaysia in June 1992. About 13 kilograms of heroin was found in the double bottom of one of their suitcases.

The five insisted they were innocent. They claimed that when they were in Malaysia, a local guide said one of their bags had been stolen and provided them with the suitcase as a substitute. They said they were unaware the guide was using them as mules for heroin.

They also said they could not present an appropriate defense because of mistranslations during the police interrogations and in the courts.

However, the judges rejected their arguments.

Four of the five were paroled in November 2002 and returned to Japan. However, Katsuno, who was viewed as the principal offender, was forced to stay longer.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

A group, including a lawyer in Osaka, was formed in Japan to support the five and press for their early release.

Since 1998, the five have filed complaints with the United Nations Human Rights Committee, saying the mistranslations infringed on their rights to a fair trial.(IHT/Asahi: May 13,2006)

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE NEWS PAGE
FREEDOM IS A RIGHT OF ALL HUMAN BEINGS IN A WORLD WHERE LIFE IS VALUED AND PEACE MAY FINALLY BE A POSSIBILITY
*
MAKE A DONATION
*
TELL A FRIEND
*
HOME | PRISONERS & PRISONS | EXPERIENCES | BOOKS & PRODUCTS | HOW TO HELP | LATEST NEWS | EMAIL
Just in case you forgot - read the Universal declaration of Human Rights
Copyright - An important message to website owners:
All information at this site is Copyright 1996 - 2006 'Save-A-Life' & 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise. As with all our information AND more specifically, information relating to CAMPAIGNS AND/OR PRISONERS we have been granted special permission to disclose this type of information by the families and/or by the detainee themselves. Therefore, if you wish to use any of this information to re-create in your own website or elsewhere, please contact us - save breach of copyright. News stories are reprinted for archival, news reporting and information use only and are credit where possible.
Click here for the legal stuff