A US federal judge on Thursday gave the go-ahead to extradite to Japan two Americans arrested in May 2020, suspected of having helped former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn escape from Japan.
Judge Indira Talwani ruled that Michael Taylor and his son Peter Taylor could not satisfactorily back up their claim that they would be subjected to torture conditions in the Japanese prison in order to deserve to violate the extradition agreement between Tokyo and Washington.
“While prison conditions in Japan may be deplorable and while the criminal proceedings to which Taylor may be subjected may not meet American perceptions of due process, these allegations do not constitute the ‘serious physical or mental pain or suffering’ envisaged in regulations,” he said. the decision.
The two men did not establish “that they are more likely than to suffer from” severe physical pain and suffering “, to be subjected to” procedures designed to disturb the senses or personality “or to be threatened with death,” Talwani said.
“They have therefore failed to establish that no reasonable fact-seeker could find anything other than that they are more likely than to be subjected to torture in Japan.”
And the judge pointed out that their alleged actions would be considered a crime in the United States, as well as in Japan.
Michael Taylor, a former US Special Forces member, turned over private security, and his son was arrested in May 2020 after Japan issued an order.
Peter Taylor was arrested in Boston as he tried to leave the country for Lebanon, where Ghosn had taken refuge and where there is no extradition agreement with Japan.
>> Flashback: “I was afraid to stay in Japan,” Carlos Ghosn told France 24
The two men have been detained pending the extradition hearing because they are considered to be flight risks.
Japan has accused Taylors, along with Lebanese George-Antoine Zayek, of helping Ghosn escape justice by fleeing the country on December 29, 2019.
At the time, he had been released on bail after being charged with financial misconduct.
U.S. court documents show that the three men allegedly tried to help Ghosn hide a large sum of money – in a suitcase that looked like a musical instrument bag – and then board a private jet.
Taylor’s lawyers immediately appealed Talwani’s decision, but it is not clear when the appeal would be processed.