Japan must respect rights of detained Greenpeace activists

Amnesty International has expressed its deep concern to the prime
minister of Japan about the detention of two Greenpeace activists,
Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki, who have been charged with theft and

Amnesty International said: “These two must be allowed to challenge
their detention before an independent and impartial court in
proceedings which meet international standards of fairness.

“It is imperative that their rights to freedom from arbitrary
deprivation of their liberty are fully respected, in accordance with
international human rights treaties to which Japan is a state party.

“We also ask that an independent, impartial and thorough investigation
is begun into their arrests and that the findings of the investigation
be made public.”

Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki were arrested on 20 June; they were
initially detained by Japanese prosecutors for 13 days on suspicion of
trespass and theft. Their detention without charge or trial was
extended by ten days. On 11 July, as the maximum period for their
continued pre-charge detention was due to expire, they were charged
with theft and trespass.

Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki are cooperating fully with the police and
prosecution. They have provided written depositions to the public
prosecutor, and voluntarily and proactively submitted relevant
evidence. They acted with a view to raising public awareness around the
Japanese government-sponsored Southern Ocean whaling programme, rather
than for illegitimate personal gain, while working for a well-respected
international organization.

“We are also concerned that their detention, the charges against them,
and the police raids on Greenpeace’s office and the homes of five of
its staff are aimed at intimidating both activists and non-governmental

“We ask the Japanese prime minister to make a clear statement assuring
human rights defenders, including environmental activists such as
Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki and organizations such as Greenpeace, that
their right to engage in peaceful activities without intimidation or
harassment will be respected by the state, including the justice