Japanese immigration officers to face prosecution over death of Ghanaian man

Category: Africa/International, Lead 1

10 Japanese immigration officers face possible prosecution for the death of a Ghanaian man who died during a struggle with them as he was being repatriated to Ghana.

The incident occurred when the officers overpowered Abubakar Awudu Suraj, as he physically resisted being put on a plane, according to Japanese media.

The 45-year-old man was being put on a plane headed to Egypt, and the officers are suspected of assaulting him in a manner that caused his death when he resisted boarding the flight March 22, 2010 at Narita International Airport in Japan.

According to the reports,  Suraj’s widow, a Japanese citizen filed a criminal complaint with the Chiba District Public Prosecutors Office against the immigration officers on suspicion of abuse of authority resulting in death. She suspects Suraj suffocated after being gagged with a towel, the publications said.

Mayumi Yoshida, assistant general secretary of Asian People’s Friendship Society and a supporter of the widow, had quoted a Chiba police officer as saying the immigration officers carried Suraj, who was acting violently, aboard an Egypt Air jet on March 22. Handcuffed and his mouth covered with a towel, Suraj was found unconscious in the aircraft and confirmed dead at a hospital, Yoshida had quoted the officer as saying.

The police were unable to pinpoint the cause of death. They showed Yoshida a report dated May 20 that indicated there were no signs of disease or physical damage, either internal or external.

Suraj came to Japan on a 15-day visa in May 1988, according to Yoshida. In 1990, he began living with the woman who later became his wife. He was arrested in 2006 on suspicion of staying in the country illegally and received a deportation order. The same month, his wife registered their marriage.

Even though, official autopsies were conducted the cause of death remains unknown.

Due to time difference between Ghana and Japan, ghanabusinessnews.com was unable to contact Ghana Embassy officials in Japan for details of the story.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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