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Japan gov't apologizes, compensates detained Turkish man over broken arm

OSAKA -- A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit where a Turkish man sued the Japanese government seeking damages totaling 42 million yen (about $397,740), claiming that immigration officials in Osaka broke his right arm while trying to restrain him at a detention facility.

    Under the agreement reached in the Osaka District Court on Sept. 29, the national government issued an apology admitting that Murat Orhan, 36, fractured his arm due to the oppressive actions taken by the officials, and settled to make a payment of 3 million yen (about $28,410). The settlement document also raised the intention to prevent a recurrence by stating, "It has been confirmed that the government will strive to ensure proper treatment of detainees more than ever, while respecting their human rights."

    Murat Orhan is seen reflecting on an alleged incident that occurred at a detention facility where immigration officials pinned him to the floor, resulting in a fracture to his right arm, in this photo taken in the western Japan city of Osaka on Sept. 29, 2020. (Mainichi/Haruka Ito)

    According to the complaint and other sources, Orhan arrived in Japan in January 2015, but was detained in an immigration facility as he had previously been deported due to an illegal stay. The alleged incident at the Osaka Regional Immigration Bureau detention facility in Osaka's Suminoe Ward occurred in July 2017, when the Turkish man threw a book at the wall because he became angry over being ordered to open his mouth widely by officials in order to check that he took his medicine. Surveillance camera footage released by the immigration bureau showed seven to eight officials dragging him into the custody room, push him to the floor, and handcuff him with his arms twisted behind his back. The officials held the man down for about 10 minutes.

    Orhan suffered a broken right arm at the time, and filed a lawsuit in May 2018, claiming that the actions taken by the officials to restrain him went beyond the limits even though he showed no resistance.

    The detainee was granted provisional release after he filed the suit, and married a Japanese woman in 2019. He is currently applying to obtain a lawful status of residence while living in Osaka Prefecture. Traces from the bone fracture remain on his right arm, and he apparently still cannot hold heavy luggage.

    Osaka immigration officials are seen subduing a Turkish man, who later filed a suit alleging that the officials broke his right arm, as seen in this footage provided by lawyers for the plaintiff.

    Orhan held a press conference in the city of Osaka on Oct. 1, and said, "I was relieved to hear the apology. I'd like for the immigration bureau to not use violence against foreigners."

    The Osaka Regional Immigration Bureau commented, "Although the officials exercised physical force in accordance with the rules, and the duties were performed in accordance with the law and regulations, it is regrettable that they broke the man's arm as a result. We will strive to continue ensuring the proper treatment of detainees."

    (Japanese original by Haruka Ito, Osaka City News Department)

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