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Tokyo High Court rules the government is not responsible for deportee death

[JURIST] The Tokyo High Court [official website, in Japanese] on Tuesday reversed a Tokyo District Court ruling from 2014 regarding the death of a detained immigrant. Immigration authorities were under investigation after restraining Abubakar Awudu Suraj, ultimately leading to his death. The new ruling states [Reuters report] that the restraint was "...not at the level to stop his breathing and was not illegal." Suraj had been in Japan for over two decades when authorities detained him in May 2009. An autopsy report noted [Japan Times report] abrasions to his face, internal bleeding of muscles, along with leakage of blood around the eyes and blood congestion in some organs and the heart. According to reports, Suraj was escorted by nine immigration officers to the airport. He was restrained and gagged after protesting his deportation. During the trial, the initial ruling was that Suraj died of suffocation, however the high court has now stated he died of a rare heart condition.

Migrant rights have generated a tremendous humanitarian issue around the world with hundreds of deaths in the past year. In August migrants who set up a tent city in Athens, Greece began relocation [JURIST report]. Many migrants coming from Afghanistan, Syria and other countries migrated to the country to escape violence, and with more than 130,000 migrants coming in the last year alone, a strain has been put on Greece's finite finances. Earlier that month the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that more than 2,000 migrants have died this year [JURIST report] in an attempt to enter Europe through the Mediterranean Sea. According to IOM, the death toll this year, up from 1,607 at the same point in the year last year, confirms that migrants' attempt to enter Europe through the Mediterranean is especially dangerous, and in fact more dangerous than other routes according to statistics. In June a British ship launched a mission [JURIST report] to rescue more than 500 migrants stranded in the sea.

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