By Liana B. Baker and Mike Spector
(Reuters) – The wife of ousted Nissan Motor Co Ltd <7201.T> chairman Carlos Ghosn has urged Human Rights Watch to bring attention to the “harsh treatment” he has received while being detained in a Japanese jail, according to a letter seen by Reuters on Sunday.
Japanese authorities have charged Ghosn with under-reporting income and aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008.
Carole Ghosn, in the nine-page letter to Kanae Doi, the Japan director for Human Rights Watch, the nongovernment organisation, asked the group to “shine a light on the harsh treatment of my husband and the human rights-related inequities inflicted upon him by the Japanese justice system.”
Ghosn was in charge of an alliance that included Nissan Motor <7201.T>, Mitsubishi Motors <7211.T> and France’s Renault <RENA.PA>, until his November arrest and removal as chairman of the automakers sent shockwaves through the industry.
The government has denied requests to end his 39-day detention. His lawyers have said it would likely take more than six months for his case to come to trial. (Click here for timeline on Ghosn investigation:)
Officials from New York-based Human Rights Watch, Nissan and Japan’s U.S. embassy could not be reached for comment on the letter.
Nissan said last Friday it had filed a criminal complaint against Ghosn with Tokyo prosecutors related to the misuse of a “significant amount of the company’s funds.”
The former Nissan executive is being held in a 75-square-foot unheated cell and being denied his daily medication, according to Carole Ghosn’s letter. He has lost 7 kg (15 lb) since his detainment and eats only rice and barley, the letter said.
Prosecutors in Japan often try to extract confessions from prisoners in detainment that could last months, Carole Ghosn claimed in the letter.
“For hours each day, the prosecutors interrogate him, browbeat him, lecture him and berate him, outside the presence of his attorneys, in an effort to extract a confession,” she said.
“No one should be forced to endure what my husband faces every day, particularly in a developed nation like Japan, the third largest economy in the world,” she said.
Ghosn said he was “wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations” during a Tokyo court proceeding last week, his first public appearance since his November arrest.
(Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Mike Spector in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)