Viet­namese de­tainee dies in Tokyo jail

New Straits Times - - World -

TOKYO: A Viet­namese man held in a Ja­panese im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion cen­tre died, draw­ing fresh at­ten­tion to con­di­tions in the coun­try’s de­ten­tion sys­tem.

The man died at the East Ja­pan Im­mi­gra­tion Cen­tre in Ibaraki pre­fec­ture, north­east of the cap­i­tal, ac­cord­ing to ac­tivists, a lawyer and a de­tainee held at the fa­cil­ity on Satur­day. Two men died at the same fa­cil­ity in 2014.

The de­ceased man was named Van Huan Nguyen and was one of more than 11,000 refugees the coun­try took in over the three decades to 2005 in the af­ter­math of the Viet­nam War, ac­cord­ing to two of the six sources.

It was not clear for how long he had been de­tained or why.

Nguyen did not have rel­a­tives in Ja­pan, but had many friends, said one of the sources who had known him.

“He was a bright, fun per­son,” she said. “I can’t be­lieve he died.”

The Sankei daily re­ported that the East Ja­pan Im­mi­gra­tion Cen­tre said a guard had found a Viet­namese man in his 40s ly­ing un­con­scious in his cell alone early on Satur­day.

The guard called an am­bu­lance and the de­tainee was sent to hos­pi­tal, where his death was con­firmed about 1½ hour later, the Sankei said, cit­ing the cen­tre.

The author­i­ties would con­duct an au­topsy and in­ves­ti­gate the cause of death, the Sankei said.

The East Ja­pan Im­mi­gra­tion Cen­tre and the Jus­tice Min­istry, which over­sees im­mi­gra­tion fa­cil­i­ties, could not be reached for com­ment yes­ter­day.

Reuters was not able to in­de­pen­dently ver­ify the death or the iden­tity of the de­ceased. A Reuters in­ves­ti­ga­tion last year into the death of a Sri Lankan at a dif­fer­ent fa­cil­ity here re­vealed se­ri­ous de­fi­cien­cies in med­i­cal care and mon­i­tor­ing in the im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion sys­tem.

Since 2006, at least a dozen peo­ple have died while in im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion, in­clud­ing four cases of sui­cide. Some de­tainees are held for months, and even years, with no clear knowl­edge of when they will be let out. Reuters

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