Left Behind Parent Alleges Detention Torture
SNA (Tokyo) — Sports journalist Scott McIntyre, just released from 44 days of detention for trespassing into his in-laws apartment complex, describes the conditions he endured as being tantamount to “torture.”
After first being put into a police cell, he was moved to several detention centers, “none of it was acceptable… Foreigners are being tortured in the detention,” he declared. He was subject to 24-hour light, which is classified by the United Nations as torture. He was put into a tiny cell which he shared with “several murderers, rapists… pedophiles, and yakuza.” He says that when he complained about his treatment, he was met with threats: If he continued to complain he would be put into solitary confinement or in a straitjacket.
And the abuse did not end there, he says. In the Tokyo Detention House in Katsushika Ward, he was not allowed to stand up. He could lie down for a two-hour nap period and at night, but otherwise he had to sit on the ground in front of a small desk. “You were only allowed thirty minutes of exercise each day,” he explained, “and in the first police cell, there was no exercise allowed at all… All we can do is keep fighting.”
Some of the other inmates told him, “‘I didn’t do what they said I did, but I’ll confess, because I cannot stand these conditions.’”
It was the charge of trespassing that got McIntyre into this situation. He had married a Japanese woman and had two kids, now aged eleven and eight years old. But after a messy split, McIntyre’s wife abducted their children. Worried about their wellbeing and safety after the Typhoon Hagibis in mid-October last year, he searched for them at his in-laws’ apartment.
He states, “It was a two-minute trespassing. I didn’t talk to anybody, touch anything, or damage anything.” He simply went to the exterior of the apartment to look for his children’s umbrellas, shoes, or anything that could indicate that they were there. But that was enough to get him detained under harsh conditions for 44 days. He was also given a six-month suspended sentence with three years probation.
Explaining his frustration, he said, with the amount of effort they put into arresting him, the police could have investigated the claims he had repeatedly made about his children’s abductions.
McIntyre explains that, even after continuous pleading and around forty to fifty faxes and emails to various lawyers, “I’ve not seen, heard from, or had any contact with [my children] for almost 250 days.”
Sadly, his case is not unique. Many children every year are being denied access to one of their parents. As McIntyre explains it, “both Article 224 of the Japanese Penal Code as well as Articles 9 and 35 of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child prohibit the kidnapping and abduction of children.” They also stress that nations must ensure that children have regular access to both their parents. But when McIntyre brought all these facts to the police, they told him nothing could be done.
He tried to bring his case to court, but he was denied. In cases like this, some parents will never see their children again for the rest of their lives. McIntyre was told that, it would take about nine months for the first occasion where he could see his children. “I was told, if I was lucky, in nine months, I may be permitted a one or two hour session with the children in the court, which is monitored with a two-way glass by lawyers, by judges.”
“The answer is simple,” he declared, “allow joint custody and the abductions will go away. All we want is for the rights of the children to be respected.”
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