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Inside Ghosn’s cell in Japan: A tale of physical, psychological mistreatment

Published: Updated:

“Gratitude in the Japanese way!”… Solitary confinement, isolation from the outside world, a “mat” to sleep on, a small food tray and eight hours of daily intensive interrogation. This was the way legendary figure of Lebanese descent Carlos Ghosn, the savior of Nissan, was treated in his Japanese prison.

These are not mere fantasies or hallucinations, but rather a crime movie produced by the Japanese this time.

In clear and precise words, Hadi Hachem, Advisor to the Director of the Office of the Lebanese Foreign Ministry, discloses for the first time in an exclusive interview to Al Arabiya, Ghosn’s conditions of detention which, according to him, violate international treaties and human rights provisions.

He added: “The accused is innocent until proven guilty. So we have many reservations about Ghosn’s detention, the place where he is being held in solitary confinement, similar to those charged with criminal offenses which widely surpass the charges of financial crime."

SEE ALSO: What misconduct is Nissan’s Ghosn accused of, and how did it come to light?

He continued expressing his dismay: “Carlos Ghosn is a prominent Lebanese figure who marked the world of expatriation. Therefore, the Lebanese Foreign Ministry is closely following the developments in the case through its official intermediary, the Lebanese ambassador to Japan, Nidal Yehya, who in turn has been working diligently and met Ghosn more than once in his place of detention and brought him a mattress after being only offered a mat to sleep on.

But the prison administration categorically refused food supplies to Ghosn through any external intermediary.

"He was severely affected psychologically and had already lost some weight, five kilograms since the day of his arrest on November 19, just two weeks ago. He is subjected to eight hours of intensive interrogations every day and so we fear he will be dictated or forced, under psychological pressure, into confessing something he did not commit ... Hashem explicitly says that"

According to Hashem, “Ghosn is tired psychologically!”

Hachem does not hide his concern that Ghosn could fall victim to economic interests and international fracture. “The case has larger dimensions than the arrest of one single person. He is not allowed to communicate with his family at all, but three lawyers have been appointed to follow his case.”

“Who will replace him, if he is proven innocent?,” asks Hachem. “We demand a fair and transparent trial.”

An arrest in crime movie style!

He describes Ghosn's arrest as quite “unusual” in a conservative society such as Japan, mixing several theatrical elements like in a crime movie: "The moment the plane arrived, people climbed up and then cameras were seen recording, which is surprising in itself. Moments later the plane’s windows were asked to be closed... "

Raiding his apartments in Beirut

The chapters of the crime movie did not stop there. Few days ago, the Lebanese media reported that a Japanese delegation raided Ghosn’s apartments in Beirut, affirming that they were the property of Nissan.

Hachem stated in indignation: "The decision to raid the apartments must be done on a judicial order and under Lebanese law if these apartments were owned by Ghosn or even by Nissan. In both cases, these apartments’ occupancy was lawful, whether under a lease, a concession or a consent agreement which is not important in itself. What is indeed important to note is that the decision to raid has to be legal!”

A detention of 70 days?

According to what is being circulated in the media, Ghosn’s detention may be extended. As specified by Japanese law: “If the first 23 days are not enough, the plaintiffs can re-arrest the suspect on the basis of other allegations."

Among the options available to the prosecutors in Tokyo is to extend Ghosn’s detention for the second time on Decembe 10, providing them with 23 additional days to interrogate the suspect until the end of December.

They can resort to extending his detention for a third time based on other charges, which means that Ghosn can remain under detention until January 21!

What is the Lebanese role then?

Hashem’s answer was clear: “We will retort to every act with an action of our own ... we will observe the developments in the investigation, and we will inevitably challenge the ruling if not proven with facts and evidence.”

Hachem concludes with a certain sorrow: “This man, who created 400,000 jobs, provided work for thousands of families and saved three major companies, does not deserve to be thanked in that sort by way by the Japanese.”