국제앰네스티는 두 명의 그린피스(Greenpeace) 활동가들이 고래고기 한 상자를 훔친 혐의에 대해 유죄판결을 받은 사건을 맞아 일본 정부에 합법적 시위권을 보장할것을 요구했다.
9월 6일 아오모리시(city of Aomori) 북부지방법원은 주니치 사토(Junichi Sato) 와 토루 스즈키(Toru Suzuki)에게 절도 및 무단침입죄로 징역 1년 집행유예3년을 선고했다.
국제앰네스티 캐서린 베이버 (Catherine Baber) 아시아•태평양국 부국장은 “이 충격적인 판결은 분명히 정부의 포경정책에 반대하는 사람들에게 명확한 메시지를 보내려는 의도로 기획된 것이다. 이 둘은 정부인사들이 조사하기 거부한 사항에 대한 보고서를 작성했다. 이들은 형 대신 상을 받아야 한다”고 전했다.
그린피스는 두명의 활동가들이 3주 이상의 기간 동안 기소되지 않은 채 3주간 구금되었으며 의자에 묶인 채 하루 세번 변호사도 없는 가운데 조사를 받았다고 전했다. 그린피스는 이 기소를 정치적 재판으로 규정하고 이를 규탄했다.
JAPAN URGED TO PROTECT RIGHT TO PROTEST AFTER ANTI-WHALING ACTIVISTS CONVICTED
7 September 2010Amnesty International has called on the Japanese government to preserve the right to legitimate protest in the wake of the conviction of two Greenpeace activists for the theft of a box of whale meat.
Junichi Sato, 33, and Toru Suzuki, 43, were convicted on Monday of theft and trespass by a court in the northern city of Aomori and were each sentenced to one-year jail terms, suspended for three years.
The pair admitted the theft of the 23kg (50lb) box of whale meat, officially deemed to be for research purposes, but say they took the box to help illustrate the much wider problem of similar thefts by whaling ship crews who then sell the meat on for substantial profits.
“This is a disturbing verdict clearly designed to send a signal to anyone who challenges the state position on whaling,” said Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Asia and the Pacific, Catherine Baber. “These two individuals followed up on reports of corrupt practices when officials wouldn’t. They should have received commendations, not convictions.”
Sato and Suzuki say they were first contacted in early 2008 by a veteran whaler turned whistleblower – known only as “Mr Whale” – who was concerned about corruption and waste in the Japanese whaling industry.
He told the pair that crew members regularly received mislabelled boxes sent to their homes that were actually filled with whale meat. Crew members then sold the meat on for personal profit. Some crew members regularly received as many as 10 boxes at a time, he said.
The activists readily admit taking the box of whale meat from a delivery depot in the northern city of Aomori in 2008, which had been labelled “cardboard and vinyl”.
They later turned the box over to Tokyo prosecutors and held a press conference to present their evidence. Instead of prosecutors taking action against the crew members involved, police instead arrested Sato and Suzuki and raided Greenpeace offices and staff homes, seizing documents and computer hard drives.
Greenpeace says the two activists were held for more than three weeks without charge, and were interrogated three times a day while strapped to chairs without their lawyers present. Greenpeace has condemned the action and labelled the prosecution a “political trial”.
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention determined that the pair had been engaged in a legitimate public interest enquiry, their prosecution was politically motivated and their initial detention breached their human rights.
“The deplorable treatment Mr Sato and Mr Suzuki received once they presented their evidence is indefensible,” said Catherine Baber. “The Japanese government must act to ensure this type of mistreatment is not repeated, and that the ability to investigate corruption and expose environmental and human rights abuses is upheld.”
Amnesty International has consistently called for an independent, thorough and impartial investigation into the treatment of the pair, urging the Japanese prime minister in 2008 to make a clear statement assuring human rights defenders, including environmental activists such as Sato and Suzuki, that their right to engage in peaceful activities without intimidation or harassment would be respected by the state, including the justice system.