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Court awards damages over Ghanaian's deportation death

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$50,000 for a life? You have to wonder how the court came up with this number.

18 ( +22 / -4 )

$50K is almost more insulting than if they had just thrown his case out. Good to see the family has some closure at least...

3 ( +6 / -3 )

That amount is certainly way too low.

Japanese prosecutors had earlier decided not to press criminal charges

It's interesting to see the kind of cases the government deems worthy of pursuit. The manner in which immigration handled this man was clearly wrong, hence the "illegal" verdict. Had the victim been Japanese, my gut feeling tells me prosecutors would have been all over this case, along with the mainstream media.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

The prosecutors should be criminally charge for no even pursuing a case where "illegal" restraints were used.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Disgusting it happened and more disgusting the paltry settlement. It should be more like manslaughter for the officials and with 10 of them responsible its such a measly amount, its probably not even the 10 guys wages for a month.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

How much is enough? His family will be financially secure for the rest of their lives.

-17 ( +4 / -21 )

Once again the Japanese Legal system disgraces itself. Absolutely pathetic.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

5 million yen?? Disgraceful. How the japanese see the worth of a foreigner's life. No illusions here.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Medieval justice.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

According to the verdict, the 5 million yen in damages is based on the amount the man would have earned (cost of living) in Ghana.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Disgusting outcome and a pitiful amount of compensation, the officers carried out an illegal act therefore they should be charged, and how could 5 mill yen make a family financially secure for the rest of their lives Michael barnard?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

What the hell did he do to be bound and gagged in a foetal position?! ¥5m is ridiculously low...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Normally in wrongful death cases, the courts look to how much the person would have earned. In this case, they likely looked at average salary in Ghana, number of years Mr. Suraj would have been expected to continue working and rounded up.

Based on the paltry sum of 5 million, I'm guessing the average income in Ghana is very low. I wonder if they shouldn't instead have used the income he actually was earning. (while working illegally in Japan).

At least the widow has some solace in the courts recognition that the officials were at fault and their restraint illegal. Money can't fix everything. Knowing that blame has been recognized where it belongs is worth a lot, too.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Start at the beginning - this man had no right to be in Japan. He seems to have had an attitude that marrying a Japanese women changed that. Very unfortunate but when you try to behave as if you are king it sometimes doesn't work out. Lesson to be learned? Yes, to those millions of Africans who are trying to leave Africa they should know they might end up in worse condition than they started so best to stay put and fix your own country before moving on illegally.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Next obvious step is for both criminal and civil charges against the officers. Those fools should be in jail and paying a hefty sum to Suraj's widow.

Some people in Immigration should be facing review. I know the guy was not clean as a whistle, but he was married to a Japanese national, and that deserves some leeway. He should not have been undergoing deportation in the first place.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

This outcome disgusts me. Putting aside issues of compensation, I am disgusted by the idea that government officials can act in such a way against another human being. The chap was being deported. If it was really so uncooperative when in detention why wasn't he sedated rather than being hog-tied? Moreover, on the issue of this being a death in custody, the decision of the prosecutors not to make a case against the persons involved stinks of a coverup. I assume there was an autopsy, but why wasn't their a coronal inquiry that put the participants in the dock and then made a decision as to whether papers should have been sent to the prosecutors? The prosecutors being on the same side of the court (prosecution) as the immigration officers (enforcement) does raise issues of conflict of interest.

Japan keeps a tight lid on immigration and rarely grants political asylum despite being a major foreign-aid donor.

And that little nugget says a lot about Japan. For all this talk of internationalization, unless you have something to offer the Japanese (say intellectual knowledge as a university researcher, etc.), there is a strong undercurrent in Japan that equates "internationalization" to starting at Japan's borders. Basically, the idea being to throw money at the problem rather than being willing to engage people and allow refugees to settle on these shores.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

This news should be highlighted to reduce the tendency to stay in Japan illegally. You stay here illegally, you die, your family get 5 million yen. But then again, that might be a lot more money than many 3rd world country people get paid when their family member die. The people who died in Bangladesh building collapse got 520$ per head.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

how did the court come up with that sum? if they take into consideration that the avg. salary in Ghana is about $7,000 a year, and he had at least 15 more working years ahead of him based on his age, then at minimum he shoul shave received ¥10,000,000.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Don't dare do anything illegal or these masked latent sadists will have their way with you even to truss up and kill. Compensation will be paid by government who authorize them. They go scott free ?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

50K in damages for killing a man in the airport???? Black like me.... might as well be the US.....

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Im sorry, but this man was a criminal, here illegally.

He did not deserve to die for sure, but its hard for me to believe people are complaining his damages were too little. It was his own fault for breaking the law.

I have little time for giving compensation to criminals, whatever their nationality.

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

People who are irate about the "low" amount of damages might want to read articles in other media, such as the front page one in the Japan Times, which give a little more of the background and the other side of the story. The officials should have used a less dangerous form of restraint but it does appear that something more than ordinary was required.

As he was living and working in Japan illegally it seems fair enough to me to base compensation on what he might have earned living in his home country. And if I recall correctly, this is the case where he didn't marry until deportation was imminent so the idea that he deserved special treatment because his wife is Japanrse doesn't really hold much water with me.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

@ Kimuzukashiiii: Please understand the difference between criminal and illegal.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Any other first world country would have the officials charged with manslaughter. Japan.....supposedly a first world country, but with third world values.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'm sorry, but this man was a criminal, here illegally.

Interesting logic, only one problem. The court case in this instance was a civil one, not a criminal matter. Moreover, the parties were his next of kin and the perpetrators ( a word used in that the judge mentioned "the restraint was “illegal”). The criminality or otherwise of the deceased is totally irrelevant. What was being tested here is whether or not the rights of the deceased were abused by the actions of the perpetrators. The answer is yes in that the judge stated, “the immigration officials restrained him beyond what was necessary or appropriate."

5 ( +8 / -3 )

@ Kimuzukashiiii: Please understand the difference between criminal and illegal. Ghanian=illegal and immigration officer = criminal

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I know everyone else is focused on the amount awarded, but I believe the family of this man wasn't. They just wanted closure, some justice. Lawyers usually want the money.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I read the headline and I was pleasantly surprised. I read the amount and I was appalled. What is even more appalling though is that these 10 officials are still at work, having received absolutely no punishment for killing a human being.

And to those of you saying, he was a criminal and therefore, ipso facto, it was his fault, I would like to ask if you really want to live in a society where the penalty for illegal immigration is death?

If you don't think illegal immigrants should be killed, then what relevance is the illegality of the victim's action to the greater and vastly more immoral illegality of the officers actions?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Im sorry, but this man was a criminal, here illegally.

He did not deserve to die for sure, but its hard for me to believe people are complaining his damages were too little. It was his own fault for breaking the law.

I have little time for giving compensation to criminals, whatever their nationality.

There is a court system to handle punishment for crimes. Killing him was not dictated by the court system, therefore it was not a legal punishment for his crimes. As such, his criminality is irrelevant to the situation, as there was no justifiable reason for him to be killed. As such, his wife most definitely should be compensated for his death.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

StormR, that is a lot of money in Ghana.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

the avg. salary in Ghana is about $7,000 a year, and he had at least 15 more working years ahead of him based on his age, then at minimum he shoul shave received ¥10,000,000.

Interesting Ricky. Thanks for looking up the Ghanian average salary. Your calculation comes to exactly double what the judges have granted. I wonder if they assigned half the blame on man fighting being deported and half the blame on the illegal restraints used on him.

I wish the journalists would give us more of the judges' reasoning and less recycled filler text. ("Japan keeps a tight lid on immigration and rarely grants political asylum despite being a major foreign-aid donor." This case is not about political asylum.)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It doesn't matter who he was or what he had done he did not deserve to be killed by these govt thugs, they could have handled the whole thing totally differently, some one suggested medicating the guy if he was violent, restraining someone needs to be done with care , not just bundling them up with ropes, belts, gags and chains and then sitting on them or throttling them.

He was mistreated and killed regardless that he was illegal or black or white or green, what they did is wrong, they need to be bought to justice.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

5 million yen. What is this a joke? In addition, what do they mean by accidental death??? Seems more like murder to me. Gagged with a towel while handcuffed to a belt? Wasn't even a mouth gag, it was a towel. Imagine that anybody in the public did this? Wouldn't it be called murder? The judge himself said what the officials did was illegal. Yes, he was here illegally so deport him. Illegal is illegal. But murder was not part of the deportation order. What about the officials involved, are they being arrested on murder charges or just publicly get their hand spanked but behind closed doors told not to worry about it. It is the officials that should pay the family, not the public tax payers.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It was an accident.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Gagged with a towel while handcuffed to a belt? Wasn't even a mouth gag, it was a towel. Imagine that anybody in the public did this? Wouldn't it be called murder?

No, more likely involuntary manslaughter, or whatever the Japanese equivalent of that is.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

For all the people complaining about the payout, 5 million for someone in Ghana would be like 5 million in America. The family has no more financial worries for life. Obviously, the dude from Ghana would not keep his mouth shut and/or thrashing around or he would not have been treated so harshly.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@spooky

Start at the beginning - this man had no right to be in Japan. He seems to have had an attitude that marrying a Japanese women changed that. Very unfortunate but when you try to behave as if you are king it sometimes doesn't work out. Lesson to be learned? Yes, to those millions of Africans who are trying to leave Africa they should know they might end up in worse condition than they started so best to stay put and fix your own country before moving on illegally.

Regardless, if he broke the law, there was NO justification for handling him the way they did, then immigration needs to take a course on how to deal with unruly people they are deporting. Being from California, I have been to Mexico over 20 times and I really understand the reason why they try to enter into the US, I am totally against illegal immigration, but I DO understand why they do it and I would do the same and I am sure the same can be said about ANY 3rd world country. It's easy for people like you that grew up in nation that has money to easily judge somebody that has to struggle to get ahead and everyday is a challenge for survival. Why the guy is here and for what reason, we can't judge, perhaps the circumstances of his country were so bad, he had no choice, but to try to make a better life somewhere and that place was Japan. Please, don't make this an African issue. Would you say the same thing about the Chinese, since they make up the largest minority population for both legal and illegal. He tried to make it and for whatever reason and it didn't work out, he got caught and was deported, Ok, I get it. But they had to rough him up like that?? If they had to restrain him, I have NO problem with that, but to gag him? They treated this guy like an animal. You can uphold the law, but you don't need to be criminally abusive and over excessive.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

For all the people complaining about the payout, 5 million for someone in Ghana would be like 5 million in America.

Perhaps so, but don't you think it is a slippery slope to award damages based on where the victim is from as opposed to the crime? If so, it should not matter how much the money is worth in Ghana, but how much it is worth in Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I would like to ask if you really want to live in a society where the penalty for illegal immigration is death?

The punishment for illegal immigration is of course not death, and most people who are deported from Japan are not restrained in any way. On my first trip to Japan, I saw a group of people being escorted through security, all were aliens being deported, none were restrained. They often don't even handcuff murderers and rapists Japan when they are arrested by police. The man in question vigorously resisted being deported, which is not something immigration officers are used to, and are probably not well trained for. Had he gone quietly as the others did, he would not have been restrained, and would not have died. The officers escorting him should have had the proper restraints, and the training to use them.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

5 million yen for a life? weak Japan, very weak....The judge even said it was "illegal" and no one is charged?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

$50,000 for a life? You have to wonder how the court came up with this number.

Accidentally knock down and kill an old lady while riding a bicycle, see what fine you get.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Metropolitan Police Department has arrested twelve Japanese men at an apartment rented by a Ghanian diplomat for illegal baccarat gambling.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Please understand the difference between criminal and illegal.

The difference is getting caught.

Anyway, this was a civil trial, but the judge should have included punitive damages and the perps should have been fired.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

For all the people complaining about the payout, 5 million for someone in Ghana would be like 5 million in America.

This is Japan. He lived in Japan albeit illegally. His widow lives in Japan and has no plans to go to Ghana as far as I know. Why should she?

Obviously, the dude from Ghana would not keep his mouth shut and/or thrashing around or he would not have been treated so harshly.

And after more than 20 years here, they decided to ship him out without informing his wife or mother in Ghana or let him do inform them. What was their plan? To just drop him off on the street in Cairo without a dime and nobody knowing he was there? Were they going to take him all the way to Ghana and drop him on the street? Seems they enjoy making people squirm and they love it more when they get to zip tie you for squirming.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The single largest crime committed by foreigners are visa over stays and without that the foreigner crime rate would be very low. The authority charge the deportee for the cost of the flight otherwise you stay in the deportation centre.

In this case, and others, there's really no need for this extreme form of restrain just to get a guy onto a plane. And a towel gag, OMG! Was his wife Japanese which would make the compensation payment very low. The officers involved should have been charged with a crime?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

My point was just proved ... Intimidation..... Must be why those guards flipped out and killed the brother.....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Brutal, tortuous gagged with a towel? Killed...10 immigration offices with none of them able to to step forward and resolve the situation without death. It's disgusting.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The man's brother was not killed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does anyone know WHY he needed to be restrained so harshly? That's my question. Did he hit someone or try to break free from other restraints?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Moderator, brother is slang when used by a person of African decent.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Wish I could up thumb the moderator

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Please post something more pertinent to the story.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ppl shouldn't complain about the amount being too low imo, as the fact that the cops were found to be at fault at all is absolutely earth shattering.

Further jpn doesn't have such a litigious culture and often don't give high pay outs for various industrial injuries or deaths etc. (Not saying that's good, just that it is a context to see this case in).

I heard about other similar deaths by cops and immigration mostly on foreigners, via restraining in such a way that the victim couldn't breath anymore and suffocated.

I hope this brings about awareness of their horrible restraining tactics and causes change. It's about time.

Condolences to the family.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I was in an immigration detention center for 54 days 18 months ago. I was being investigated for doing volunteer work while being on a visitor visa. The conditions were pretty good. 4 of us maximum in a cell. BS TV 16 hours a day and 2 reasonable meals. I saw a few guys physically restrained but only after they acted violently towards the guards or refused to move or be moved. Very sad that this guy was even deported and tragic that he died but what I am saying is that this kind of treatment is a last resort for the staff involved and far from normal. I was fairly abusive of the guards and non cooperative and never had a hand laid on me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

FizzBit, good point and somehow "left out" for sensationalism and heated arguments purposes. If I remember correctly, the victim became violent when they wanted to board him, started shouting and kicking, and that's the reason why they restrained him so harshly.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Wow now a foreigners are worth 5m yen in Japan what is the Ghanian embassy doing about this case? It is a disgrace for the 10 men involved this case not to be charge for man slaughter. Let say it was a japanese who was killed by the Ghanian immigration in Ghana the japanese will be pushing to charge those involved for murder but here they are now seen as heros out there to kill another foreigner shame on the prosecutor who say the should not be charge

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Terrible that this man lost his life. I agree with those saying 5 million isn't really an appropriate figure for compensation. Still, I have never seen police in Japan act that way. Does anyone know if the way he was carried to the plane is standard procedure for deportation in Japan. I think it must not be. Way back in the early nineties I had some Israeli friends who overstayed their visas by like three years. When they wanted to leave they just turned themselves in at immigration with very apologetic attitudes and the airline tickets they had already bought to leave the country. They weren't even arrested.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's sad that most of the comments on this thread pertain to the small amount of money his family received in the civil case rather than the fact that prosecutors chose NOT to pursue it as a criminal case. I think you are all failing to see the REAL issue here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am a Ghanaian and I do agree he broke the law.Deportation was their last resort but they went overboard.People migrate for economic,political or other reasons.I have personally met two Japanese ladies who are overstaying in Australia.I heard in America there are a bunch over there and even met a Canadian and a French overstaying in Japan.

If these guys are arrested and their deportation leads to their death,wont such Countries be held responsible?If you go to Yahoo Japan ,the Japanese on there are writing all kind of nasty stuff.But if it was their country men,they would be crying wolf.

5million yen is about 150,000 Ghana cedis which is not any huge sum over there.And it is not the same as 5million dollars in US as some people are saying here.Prices of basic stuff are astronomically high.Anyways, most of the money would be going to the wife over here.

What is important here,is Justice is been served.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Everyone here has an opinion but I have one question? What if a friend called you and asked if he could visit and stay a couple of days. Lets say he lived in a different prefecture or state or country. After those couple of days nothing happens he or she remains you continue on as you normally did go to work come home the friend is in your home watching TV or your relaxing or partying while you are working your arse off!! Remember this person has no money no food but living off you! How would you like that? This could be a very good friend and I know its hard to ask him or her to leave but its costing you. In this case I am sure this guy knew his time was up, and if he had a Japanese wife he should have just went home and took care of his business and come back after doing so. They didn't have to send the guy off like a dog. I agree he was illegal, and some people don't understand what illegal means. Laws are laws they are made to be followed and not be broken. Anyone in charge should enforce the laws but not to the extent where one has to lose their life. I am TOTALLY AGAINST immigration and all countries rules should be enforced if not people will continue to come, and when the numbers rise so does everything else crime, and your culture and way of life etc... People have to remember when you visit a country on a VISA you are there as a guest and you should leave when your time is up, trying to hide only make matters worse. Being said being in a country and OVER staying your VISA makes you ILLEGAL what part of the word they don't understand, third world or the modern world the rules apply Illegal means criminal the day they over stay and they should understand they put themselves at risk.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

kaimycahl

I am so glad my fiance don't feel the same as you do. He is from Nihon and is the Love of my life.......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The immigration officers should have used sticky tape instead of towel if they want him to stop shouting.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He wore out his welcome & got the gate- gave them a fight & now he's the late such is the finger of fate! The End!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"what I am saying is that this kind of treatment is a last resort for the staff involved and far from normal. I was fairly abusive of the guards and non cooperative and never had a hand laid on me."

Let me guess: your are white and from a nation that would be all over Japan for mistreating one of their citizens? The fact that you were locked up for nearly two months over such a minor investigation should clue you in to how draconian the authorities here can be. I have heard true stories of Japanese immigration detention that would make your toes curl if this one did not already do it. Detention facilities are a place that attracts sadists like bees to honey, or more like flies to ....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Fizzbit-

Apparently he was shouting, struggling, and clinging to building supports and handrails in an effort to avoid deportation.

Even so, not at all enough to warrant death, or a torturous and abusive submission.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@ Utrack

Maybe thats because you are the example of what I am describing and your fiance who is from Nihon doesn't have a clue because he is love struck. If you read my post I said friend not lover/fiance. In your case I don't know if you are overstaying your Visa or if your fiance has plans to marry you. What ever the reason may be for you or anyone else staying or illegally or LEGAL!! Laws are Laws and they must be obeyed. Now again what part of "Illegal" most over stayers don't understand. Besides the first three letters ILL which mean sick!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Laws are Laws and they must be obeyed.

Shoplifting is also illegal. Can you be expected to be bundled on an airplane for it? Detained for months? Denied access and communications to your relatives?

Yeah, we all know the law. What you lack is perspective. Overstaying is by no means a heinous crime worthy of the treatment he received that led to him struggling.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is not only PATHETIC but just down right WRONG!! This African man had a JAPANESE wife and kids but somehow his visa, etc...got messed up not too sure, then he got in trouble and arrested and now he is DEAD, most likely KILLED by the JAPANESE IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS!! How about if we had news of a JAPANESE getting beat up and killed in AFRICA?? WOW!! NHK would be all over that!! RIP dead man from Ghana.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

most of you don't know what you're talking about.

I myself was detained in Narita for overstaying ONE day. I flew to Europe after 91 days (was only meant to be 90 days) and came back to be with my wife (then GF, Japanese) and they locked me up and deported me. As much as I HATED it, I felt like a caged animal - I Still TOOK IT ON THE CHIN and wouldn't THINK of carrying on like a NUT. I am SURE they dude went NUTS. In fact, when I was in the Narita Detention Centre, There was a middle easterner going complete nuts. For the Japanese officials to hog tie or whatever the dude, and him being African, I can GUARANTEE we was going crazy. Now, I also have experience in this field, I later became a prison officer in my own country and learnt that it is SO easy to kill someone like this. It doesn't take much, especially when their heart rate is so high as well as all their other hormones.

Sorry, not saying this guy deserved to die, but I don't feel sorry for him. Just don't mess around like this. Simple. Be a man, get deported and work on getting back. Going NUTS isn't going to help your cause. Not a bit.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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