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  • Report: The Idubor Case and the lack of a speedy trial in Japan

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on August 22nd, 2007

    Hi Blog. Emerging from summer break:

    THE OSAYUWAMEN IDUBOR CASE
    AND THE RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL IN JAPAN
    HELD IN POLICE CUSTODY FOR MORE THAN HALF A YEAR
    DESPITE NO MATERIAL EVIDENCE AND DETERIORATING HEALTH

    By Arudou Debito (www.debito.org, debito@debito.org)
    Released August 22, 2007
    Freely Forwardable
    UPDATE ON THE SEPT 3 2007 HEARING, AND HOW YOU CAN HELP, AT
    http://www.debito.org/?p=547

    BACKGROUND TO THE CASE
    iduborphotocrop.jpg

    On January 22, 2007, exactly seven months ago, Osayuwamen IDUBOR, a Nigerian national and owner of a café/bar in Yokohama (see photo of Mr Idubor above; you may recognize him from TBS TV show “Koko Ga Hen Dayo Nihonjin”), was arrested by police. He was formally charged on February 9, 2007, of raping a Japanese woman in the early morning hours of November 1, 2006. He had been held since arrest in the Kagamachi Police Station awaiting trial, and on May 11, he was transferred to the Yokohama Detention Center (kouchi shisho) where he remains to this day. His lawyer, a Mr Tsurusaki of Yokohama, petitioned for his release on May 21, 2007, but was refused by the court.

    I have been told by both Mr Idubor’s wife, a Polish national, and his lawyer (see below), that there is no material evidence to justify holding him in police custody. Nevertheless, since other sources have told me that foreigners in Japanese criminal cases are considered more of a flight risk than Japanese, he remains in custody even after seven months. “We are waiting for a ruling from the court to find him innocent. That is the Japanese system,” Lawyer Tsurusaki told me.

    One cannot wait in this case. Mr Idubor’s wife also told me in several phone conversations that her husband’s health is deteriorating. She has seen in prison visits that he has a rash all over his scalp, his hair is falling out, and there is blood coming from his ear. She says that police have denied him access to a hospital and sufficient medical treatment (similar to the Valentine Case, http://www.debito.org/valentinecase.html).

    Mr Idubor’s wife contacted Amnesty International Japan about this case, and they advised her to contact Debito.org directly for more exposure. I hereby send this information out in both English and Japanese.

    After more than half a year of detention without speedy trial or sufficient care while in custody, it is imperative that the public and the mass media know more and consider investigating this case. Contact details and a statement from Mr Idubor’s lawyer follow below. The next hearing on this case is scheduled for September 3, 2007, from 2:30 PM, at the Yokohama District Court. Please be in touch with Mr Tsurusaki if you wish to attend.

    Arudou Debito
    Sapporo, Japan
    August 22, 2007

    UPDATE ON THE SEPT 3 2007 HEARING, AND HOW YOU CAN HELP, AT
    http://www.debito.org/?p=547

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    LEGAL STATEMENT FROM TSURUSAKI LAW OFFICES
    REGARDING THE OSAYUWAMEN IDUBOR CASE

    (Japanese original, translation and summarization by Arudou Debito)

    231-0011 Kanagawa Ken Yokohama shi Naka-ku Oota Machi 1-20 Sanwa Bldg 4A
    Tsurusaki Houritsu Jimusho, Tsurusaki Motoyuki, Lawyer
    Tel 045-663-6874, FAX 045-663-6895, email tsurusaki@tsuruhou.com
    July 5, 2007

    DISCREPANCIES IN DEFENDANT OSAYUWAMEN IDUBOR’S ALLEGED RAPE CASE

    1) FACTS OF THE CASE IN DISPUTE
    On November 1, 2006, between around 6:30 AM and 9:30 AM, the Defendant Idubor, owner of a bar, is said to have raped or attempted to rape a woman who was disabled by alcohol and unable to defend herself.

    2) REGARDING THE EVIDENCE IN GENERAL
    There is no material evidence whatsoever to indicate that any rape occurred. Just the word of the allegedly-raped Complainant.

    Of course, the Defendant rejects any claims that he raped her, let alone committed any adultery whatsoever.

    3) DISCREPANCIES IN COMPLAINANT’S TESTIMONY
    Complainant has made a number of statements for the record, and one public testimony in court as a witness, but claims differ from statement to statement.

    For example, Complainant testified that she downed shots of tequila three times at the bar in question, but in another testimony she said that after downing one shot she was knocked off her feet and fell asleep in the bar; in another she says that even after three shots she was not even drunk. Also, when she was allegedly being raped, once she said she saw Defendant’s face in front of her face, and another time she testified that she couldn’t see Defendant’s face at all.

    In addition, there are points within Complainant’s testimony that do not qualify as objective evidence.

    For example, after alleged relations with the Defendant, Complainant claimed her underwear was bloodstained. However, photos of her underwear submitted to the court as evidence showed no bloodstain. In addition, Complainant testified that she was dragged along the floor of the bar by the Defendant, but photos submitted to court as evidence indicated there was no indicative dirtying of her clothing whatsoever.

    There are many other aspects of Complainant’s testimony itself that are unnatural. For example, even though Complainant said she was too drunk to resist being raped, she also said she was able to get up right afterwards and head towards the entranceway. Moreover, even though she shouldn’t be able to move in any particular direction, she said she was able to get on a high bar stool where her feet could not touch the ground. Not only should she not have the strength to do that, she didn’t even try to flee the premises, even though the bar door was not locked.

    Also, after the alleged rape, it is incredible that she testified that Defendant then drove her to a friend’s house in his car.

    Also, regarding the circumstances of the rape itself, it is very difficult to believe Complainant’s testimony that after a minute or two of alleged relations, Defendant quit halfway without ejaculating due to second thoughts about committing adultery.

    There is also something odd about the very day this alleged rape took place. That same morning afterwards, even though Complainant stated that she was too drunk to fight off the rape, she also stated she met her friend’s boyfriend for lunch at a restaurant. This is completely unnatural.

    4) THE LAWYER’S CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
    After close examination of the evidence, and meetings with the Defendant as well as other lawyers, we are convinced that Defendant is completely innocent of the charges in this case. It is our earnest wish that the court find him innocent.

    5) OUR REQUESTS

    From time to time, we have heard in the news about criminal cases where even though facts turned out to be untrue, a guilty verdict was still handed down, then overturned in a later decision. We believe cases like those are but the tip of the iceberg.

    It is a fact that in 99.9% of criminal cases which reach a courtroom in Japan reach a guilty verdict. Regardless of the facts of the case or the efforts of the defense counsel.

    Thus it is probably common knowledge amongst lawyers that judges favor the Prosecution.

    Even then, in order to influence the outcome of a criminal case, it’s undesirable to put direct political pressure on judges since it would damage the fairness of the court.

    More effective is having cases draw the attention of the public. If the court is aware of being observed, there is more of a possibility of a prudent decision rather than something merely patched together.

    For example, if sitting in on courtrooms was more established as a right, and if more people actually sat in on courtrooms, courts would be more aware that they are being watched.

    So I think that if during our next hearing [September 3, 2007, 2:30 to 5PM] we have more people sitting in, enough for us to get a larger courtroom, we would send a message to the court that the case is an important one for them to be careful about.

    LAWYER TSURUSAKI STATEMENT ENDS
    AUGUST 22 2007 IDUBOR CASE REPORT ENDS

    UPDATE ON THE SEPT 3 2007 HEARING, AND HOW YOU CAN HELP, AT
    http://www.debito.org/?p=547

    12 Responses to “Report: The Idubor Case and the lack of a speedy trial in Japan”

    1. debito Says:

      CLARIFICATION FROM A LAWYER FRIEND. DEBITO

      Rape, and Quasi-Rape 強姦、準強姦 and other sex crimes are crimes that can only be prosecuted on the complaint of the victim. If there is no complaint, or if the victim withdraws the complaint prior to indictment, the prosecutor has no authority to indict on his/her own. The difference between rape and quasi-rape is that the former implies the victim was conscious, and in the later that the victim was in a condition where she could not resist, i.e. drunk, or asleep, or in someway incapacitated.

    2. Oscar_6 Says:

      “We are waiting for a ruling from the court to find him innocent. That is the Japanese system,” Lawyer Tsurusaki told me.

      Beg pardon? There is no presupmtion of innocence in Japan?!

      –I’M AFRAID THERE IS NOT, IN PRACTICE. I WOULD APPRECIATE CORRECTIONS FROM THOSE TRAINED IN THE FIELD, BUT MY FILES INDICATE THAT JAPAN’S CRIMINAL LAW SYSTEM IS BASED MORE UPON THE NAPOLEONIC, MEANING PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE IS NOT THE DEFAULT. AS LAWYER TSURUSAKI INDICATED, THE ALMOST COMPLETE RATE OF CONVICTION FOR ANY CASE COMING TO TRIAL BACKS THAT UP. DEBITO

    3. debito Says:

      From: MICHAEL H. FOX OF HYOGO DAIGAKU
      Subject: Re: REPORT: The Idubor Case and lack of speedy trial in Japan
      Date: August 22, 2007 4:01:08 PM JST

      Dave,

      Glad to know that you are back safely from your cycling trek.

      Kudos for getting this piece out…though I have so much experience with similar cases, my blood still boils.

      I was intending to watch the high school baseball championships, and gave it up to write a long letter to attorney Tsurusaki. Caught the end of the game pretty amazing.

      Anyway, most of your letters come with a clear and concrete plan for aiding people in trouble. This one didn’t, don’t worry I know what to do.

      Some things, which I want lawyer Tsurusaki to comment upon first, include

      1) fax campaign to Yokohama Prosecutor’s Office that Idubor be released on bail
      2) email campaign is also possible. After doing some surfing, I discovered that Yokohama Kensatsucho has a home page that invites members of the public to register as court watchers to complement the saibanin seido slanted to begin in May of ’09

      http://www.kensatsu.go.jp/kakuchou/yokohama/oshirase/11211200611210/monitor.html

      And an email is listed, very, very unusual for the forces of law and order! And good for us.

      Call it ironic/pathetic, notice that the page states 「従来よりも格段に分かりやすく,かつ,迅速な裁判」which is one of the main points of reform of the system..well not for Idubor.

      3) Contact the Kokumin Kyuuenkai and get help for supporting the case.

      4) Publicize the case ourselves.

      5) Offer support to the accused and his wife. In this regard, I would like to contact Mrs Idubor. You could send her my details and let her ring/email me.

      tell her about my incipient site

      Japan Institute for Wrongful Arrests and Convictions.
      http://www.jiswac.org

      6) Get people to attend court.

      (This is starting to sound like a what to do if schtick…?)

      Will keep you posted when I get a response from the attorney..

      ///////////////////////////////////////

      PS–just saw a newsreport about 10 youths who were framed for a rape case in Shizuoka…the High Court found them guilty, though no rape occurred …good luck to Idubor…
      ENDS

    4. debito Says:

      From: MICHAEL H FOX OF HYOGO DAIGAKU
      Subject: Guilty Verdict in Wrongful Arrest Case
      Date: August 23, 2007 2:34:31 PM JST

      Dave, Mrs Idubor, Tsurusaki-san,
      Do not be decieved by the apparent optimistic headline–take a look at the Japanese headline below for a more accurate portrayal. I watched this case in court, and have met two of the boys–it is a dreadful case of wrongful arrest. After intensive investigation, and then submitting documents and statements, the prosecution had the nerve to change the date of the incident in mid trial. The case would have been dismissed anywhere else, the US, Poland,…

      The victim arrived home late, was scolded by her mother, and claimed she was raped. She was actually having sex with another minor–I heard him testify as such in court.
      –Michael.

      ///////////////////////////////////////

      High court lowers prison sentences of four defendants in attempted rape case

      A supporter of the four defendants holds up a sign saying “unfair ruling” following the appeal hearing, in front of the Tokyo High Court on Wednesday morning.The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday scrapped a two-year prison sentence handed down to four defendants accused of attempting to rape a 15-year-old girl, and lowered the sentence to 18 months.

      In making the decision, the appeal court’s presiding judge said that there were problems with the victim’s statement of the facts, but it rejected claims by the defendants that the charges against them were false.

      The four defendants were accused of trying to rape a 15-year-old high school girl in Gotenba, Shizuoka Prefecture, in September 2001. At the time, they were aged between 16 and 17.

      In earlier hearings in the Numazu branch of the Shizuoka District Court, the victim changed the date of the incident from Sept. 16, 2001, to Sept. 9 that year. In the high court, the presiding judge stated that with the exception of the dates, the woman’s testimony was “specific and natural.” It added that statements made by the defendants about their alibis were “unbelievable.” (Mainichi)

      August 22, 2007

      御殿場強姦未遂:4被告2審も実刑 被害者供述「具体的」


      御殿場少年強姦未遂事件の控訴審判決で有罪となり、厳しい表情で不当判決の紙を手に抗議する支援者ら=東京都千代田区の東京高裁前で22日午前10時7分、木葉健二撮影

       静岡県御殿場市で01年9月、女子高生(当時15歳)を集団で強姦(ごうかん)しようとしたとして、強姦未遂罪に問われた4被告(同16〜17歳)の控訴審で、東京高裁は22日、懲役2年とした1審・静岡地裁沼津支部判決(05年10月)を破棄し、改めて懲役1年6月を言い渡した。中川武隆裁判長は冤罪(えんざい)だとする4被告の主張を退けた上で、「被害者の(事実関係の)申告にも問題があった」と減刑理由を述べた。弁護側は即日上告した。

       1審では、被害者が発生日を01年9月16日から9日に訂正し、検察が起訴事実を変更する異例の展開をたどり、捜査の甘さも指摘された。中川裁判長は被害者の供述について「日付を除いてほぼ一貫し、内容も具体的で自然だ」と信用性を認め、被告側のアリバイ主張は「信用できず成立しない」と断じた。

       事件では、少年10人が逮捕された。4被告以外は、5人が少年院送致などの保護処分を受けたが、うち1人について静岡家裁沼津支部が今年1月に刑事裁判の「再審」にあたる審判開始を決定した。残る1人は当初、無罪にあたる不処分になったが、検察側の抗告が認められて起訴され、5月に有罪判決を受け、控訴している。【銭場裕司、山田毅】

      毎日新聞 2007年8月22日 11時57分 (最終更新時間 8月22日 12時55分)

      Michael H. Fox
      Director
      Japan Death Penalty Information Center
      http://www.jdpic.org
      Hyogo College
      Kakogawa City
      675-0195
      JAPAN

    5. lisa esebamen Says:

      It is really sad to note that Japan with its high reputation can treat foreigners like animals. I live in Canada and human right is the order of the day. regarding the case if they are scared of him leaving the country they can keep his passport but at least grant him bail cos it will be much more of a problem if his health fails him.

      –ACTUALLY, THEY LEGALLY CANNOT KEEP HIS PASSPORT IF THEY LET HIM OUT ON BAIL. AND HE’D BE PICKED UP DURING THE NEXT POLICE CULL OF “ILLEGAL OVERSTAYERS AND TERRORISTS” FOR NOT HAVING IT IF THE COPS GOT PERNICKETY ABOUT HIS GAIJIN CARD… FYI. THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENT. DEBITO

    6. Lisa Says:

      I am mr idubor’s sister and i am really frustrated about what the japanese system is doing to my brother. Can any one please advise me on what to do to bring my brother out of this suffering. Are there lawyers who are not japanese over there who could help the case or human rights activist i can talk to. Please help.
      Thanks.

      –HI LISA. YES, THERE ARE LAWYERS OVER HERE WHO ARE NOT JAPANESE, BUT NOT MANY (THEY’RE CALLED GAIBEN). THEY HAVE ALREADY BEEN ADVISED OF THE IDUBOR CASE THROUGH MY EMAIL LISTS. I’LL MAKE ANOTHER PLEA FOR HELP IN MY NEXT NEWSLETTER. ANYONE OUT THERE READING THIS BLOG WHO CAN HELP OUT SOONER? THANKS. DEBITO

    7. Trans-Pacific Radio » Idubor, the lack of a speedy trial, imprisonment without evidence, and how you can help :: Independent Podcasts from Tokyo, Japan - Japanese News, Politics, Business and Economy Says:

      […] Readers of Debito.org will be familiar with the case of Mr. Osayuwamen Idubor. […]

    8. Owen Says:

      You can be convicted of rape solely on a victim’s testimony in the United States also. Canada too, I believe. It’s tougher for the prosecutor if that’s all he has, but it can be done.

      The garbled testimony of the victim is to a certain extent understandable under the circumstances, and doesn’t mean the guy is innocent. By the way, the standard of “presumption of innocence” is nowhere to be found in U.S. law. This is a layman’s way of expressing the concept of the burden of proof required for a criminal conviction, which is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In other words, 99 percent or so. Civil cases have a burden of proof of “the preponderance of the evidence,” which is 51 percent.

      What’s strange in this case is why there was no DNA or lab testing done on the woman or her clothes after the incident. Did she mull it over a few days before reporting it? I wonder how much experience his attorney has in these sorts of cases.

      I don’t have a lot of patience with criticisms of the Japanese legal system simply because it doesn’t work like the U.S. Yes, if you are charged with a crime, you’re pretty much screwed in Japan, and they don’t suffer procedural technicalities. But at the end of the day, they’re concerned more with whether you’re guilty or not, rather than if your “rights” were violated. The end result is that some innocent people are convicted in Japan, but I think about the same number of innocent people are convicted in the United States. I think the system in Japan works pretty well overall.

    9. Macg Says:

      “The end result is that some innocent people are convicted in Japan, but I think about the same number of innocent people are convicted in the United States. I think the system in Japan works pretty well overall.”

      99.9% of people brought to trial are found guilty. I highly doubt it’s *some* innocent people.

    10. Marta Says:

      Hi, my name is Marta, i have spent 3months in Japan in 2005. I know Yuyu very wel, me and my friend we have spent with him a lot of time, very often we have been togheter with him in his bar alone, and NEVER was any situation when he tried to do something. It’s unbelivable like Japaniese can treat foreigner. Yuyu would not hurt a fly, he is so nice guy!! I wonder how this japanese woman can sleep at night, she have distroied his life. I have photos with him, he is so good guy, such a shame for the Japanese justice system. Youyou me and Gosia we are with you.

    11. Lisa Esebamen Says:

      Hello Marta, It is good to know there are still truthful people like you. My brother is really grateful for all of your support.We are working towards getting justice for yuyu because he is innocent.

    12. Osagie Odiase Says:

      My name is Osagie Odiase. Osayuwamen (Yuyu) Idubor was my best friend right from Edo College. We both started “Cute Theatre Club” together. His father late Felix Idubor employed me when I was still in Nigeria. The Yuyu I know is a very jovial person. I leaved with him and his family for almost 2 years at 1 Felix Idubor Avenue in (G.R.A). His favorite cousin was Osahenruwmen who also worked at the Galary with Yuyu’s father.

      I am based in Jamaica where I work as a network engineer. I believe Yuyu left for Japan in 1990 and I am so worried about this case. I have been trying to get in touch with him. my last visit to Nigeria was in 2008, I met with his big brother Ayo Idubor who is in charge of Genesis hotel. I was told that Yuyu’s mom leaves at Oza street now but I never saw her before I left Nigeria again.

      I missed him so much. Osayuwamen thought me to drive. we both recruited dancers from Midwest College to join our theatre between 1988 and 1990. Yuyu usually like to relax inside the Hallmark Container in front of his father’s galary at that time.

      Please do whatever you can to get him out of that bondage. Yuyu is not use to that kind of lifestyle. Thanks for you good work and keep it up.

      visit our website http://www.anjamaica.org, click on “The Lost Child” and you will see me on the video. If you have a number for Yuyu please let me have it.

      I can be reached on 1876-997-9050

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