Jailing Carlos Ghosn was 'fundamentally unfair', UN finds

Alan Tovey
Carlos Ghosn
Carlos Ghosn

Fugitive former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn’s detention in Japan was a violation of his human rights, according to a United Nations panel. 

A report by independent experts working with the UN have called Mr Ghosn’s arrest in November 2018 for alleged financial crimes “arbitrary”.

The former chairman of the Renault-Nissan alliance was taken into custody in Tokyo as he stepped off a company jet.

He faced charges of breach of trust, misuse of company assets for personal gain and violating Japanese financial law by not revealing his full compensation package. 

The automotive executive who has French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, was held in a Japanese jail for more than four months and then placed under house arrest.

Mr Ghosn has repeatedly denied all the charges.

In December 2019 while awaiting trial he fled Japan in a daring escape, hiding in a box for musical equipment to get aboard a private jet before eventually emerging in public in Lebanon. 

Carlos Ghosn timeline
Carlos Ghosn timeline

Mr Ghosn gave a defiant press conference shortly after his escape, saying the only way to escape what he claimed were trumped-up charges against him was to flee Japan.

The UN human rights council’s working group issued a report on Monday calling Japan’s decision to extend Mr Ghosn’s detention four times “fundamentally unfair”.

It said he was re-arrested for the same alleged crime at least twice, adding: “The repeated arrest of Mr Ghosn appears to be an abuse of process intended to ensure that he remained in custody. This revolving pattern of detention was an extrajudicial abuse of process that can have no legal basis under international law.”

Mr Ghosn should be entitled to compensation and other reparations for his treatment, the report added.  

The panel plans to refer Mr Ghosn’s case to the UN’s representative on torture, cruel and other inhuman or degrading treatment.

Lawyers for Mr Ghosn called the panel’s verdict “courageous”, adding it “undeniably establishes Mr Ghosn’s detention was arbitrary, he was denied his right to impartial justice, and his treatment was unfair and degrading”.

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