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Fukushima Pref. lawyers in uproar after police keep man tied up for 16 1/2 hrs

The Fukushima Prefectural Police headquarters (Mainichi/Motoyori Arakawa)

FUKUSHIMA -- Lawyers in Fukushima Prefecture are set to send an advisory to police to improve their practices after they kept a man tied up for about 16 1/2 hours without giving him water or letting him use a toilet.

    The Fukushima Bar Association announced on Aug. 22 that it would send a written recommendation, dated the same day, to the Fukushima Prefectural Police headquarters on the grounds that multiple officers at Koriyama Police Station in the prefecture violated the personal rights of the detainee by pinning him down and restraining him for an unnecessarily long period of time.

    According to the document, police arrested a man in his 40s at around 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2020, on suspicion of theft. Multiple police officers pinned the man down, put handcuffs on his wrists and fixed them to a belt around his waist after he complained about the response of the detention facility and kicked its wall. Police then tied up the suspect's legs with rope so that he could not move, and kept him in that position until around 10 a.m. the following day. During that time, the detainee was apparently not given any water or allowed to use a toilet.

    The bar association's chairperson Akihiro Konno told a news conference, "We are not protesting about the detention method, but restraining him for about 16 and a half hours without a special reason is illegal. We reached the conclusion to issue the written advisory after taking the severity of the case into account while the prefectural police have not given a concrete explanation."

    An official at the prefectural police's detention management division commented, "We'd like to respond appropriately depending on the (advisory's) content."

    (Japanese original by Yuga Matsumoto, Fukushima Bureau)

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