Relatives of disgraced former Renault and Nissan boss, the Brazilian Carlos Ghosn, have once again sought the intervention of the United Nations (UN) against what they believe is a “judicial persecution” in Japan.
Jessica Finelle, one of Ghosn's lawyers, Sunday said the family had approached the working group on arbitrary detention at the Office of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights to see if they could provide some redress.
In the request, the lawyers claim bail conditions imposed on their client amounted to “house arrest” and were intended to weaken him psychologically ahead of his trial.
Ghosn was detained in November as he deplaned from his private jet in Tokyo. He was held for 108 days as prosecutors investigated financial misconduct allegations and charged him with three counts. He finally was granted bail in March, agreeing to conditions including living in a court-appointed residence monitored by cameras.
But prosecutors filed a fresh allegation against him in April and he was rearrested, spending another 21 days in detention before winning bail a second time.
The former Nissan chief is now preparing for trial on four charges of financial misconduct ranging from concealing part of his salary, to using Nissan funds for personal expenses.
Lawyers for the family said in the latest request to the UN’s working committee on arbitrary detention that the number and scale of the conditions imposed on Ghosn amounted “in effect to house arrest, meaning that his provisional detention continues and he is still deprived of his liberty.
The restrictions, “especially the prohibition of any direct contact with his wife, appear to be abuse aimed at tiring him out psychologically and to put him in a position of weakness … in violation of the right to a fair trial.
“This really amounts to a form of judicial persecution of Carlos Ghosn who is prohibited from meeting his wife, even for an hour in the presence of lawyers,” adding Ghosn was being held like a “hostage.”
Finelle admitted the UN group has no power to compel Japan to act differently, “it is still a matter of image for the Japanese” should they be required to release Ghosn without delay.
Ghosn's trial is not likely to start anytime in 2019, according to Finelle.