The former boss of carmaker Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, should receive compensation from Japan because his detention there lacked legal grounds and ran counter to fair trial rules, a panel of UN human rights experts has found.
“The deprivation of liberty of Carlos Ghosn from November 19, 2018 to March 5, 2019 and from April 4 to April 25, 2019 … was arbitrary,” the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said in a report that was published on Monday in Geneva.
Ghosn, who once led the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors alliance, was arrested in November 2018 and has been charged with breach of trust and falsifying financial documents to under-report his income for years.
He spent a total of 130 days in Japanese detention but fled the country to Lebanon in late December while free on bail.
Ghosn, who holds Brazilian, Lebanese and French citizenship, has denied all charges.
His press office in Beirut did not comment on the UN report.
The four independent rights experts who make up the Working Group criticised the fact that the manager was detained four times.
“The repeated arrest of Mr. Ghosn appears to be an abuse of process intended to ensure that he remained in custody,” the experts wrote, adding that this procedure prevented him from communicating with his lawyer.
They said that there was also evidence indicating that he was forced to make statements regarding the allegations against him, and that he was subjected to prolonged interrogation sessions without a lawyer.
The experts from Australia, Latvia, South Korea and Zambia concluded that “the appropriate remedy would be to accord Mr. Ghosn an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law.”
The Japanese government has told the rights panel that all of its legal procedures were in line with national and international human rights standards.
The government argued that it could not provide detailed information on the case to the UN-appointed experts under Japanese law, which does not allow the publication of judicial documents before the start of a trial.
The experts said this reasoning is inadequate, as it effectively prevents them for doing their work.
The panel said it would also refer Ghosn’s case to two UN rights experts who are tasked with monitoring the independence of judges and with documenting torture and inhuman treatment around the world.