Two asylum seekers sue Japan over immigration detention

Two applicants for refugee status in Japan sued the government on Thursday, claiming that painful and arbitrary detentions by the country’s immigration authorities violate international law.

In the lawsuit filed in the Tokyo District Court, the two plaintiffs are demanding a total of 30 million yen in damages.

According to the written complaint and other sources, they are a 53-year-old Iranian and a 42-year-old Turk. They were detained in immigration centers for a total of 1,357 days and 1,384 days, respectively, between 2016 and 2020, due to overstays. They have been provisionally released.

In September 2020, a United Nations Human Rights Council working group issued a written opinion that the detention of the two men in Japan violated international human rights covenants.

Pointing out that international covenants, which Japan has ratified, prohibit unreasonable and unnecessary detentions, both plaintiffs claim that their prolonged detentions lacked rationality and therefore should be compensated.

“I was shocked to learn (at an immigration center) that I will not be released unless I decide to return to my home country,” Iranian, Heydar Safari Diman, said in a statement. Japanese at a press conference on Thursday.

The Turkish man, called Deniz, said he had attempted suicide several times while in custody.

The related division of the Immigration Services Agency said it would respond appropriately after receiving the written complaint.

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