Saturday, November 06, 2010

Japan: Japanese Police Refuse Aid to Local Captive Held by Family for Religious Beliefs

Ms. MH was kept against her will for two months by captors who insisted she denounce her faith. She pleaded for freedom every day. The Japanese police came to the place of her confinement and walked away without taking any action against her captors. Ms. MH was released from confinement on October 6, 2010. This was her third confinement. She remains true to her Unificationist faith.

Shocking to many is the fact that Ms. MH, and many abductees just like her, know their captors. Those that hold them hostage are often family members – mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts – who disapprove of their religious beliefs in the Unification Church.

According to Ms. MH's testimony, Japanese officers acted on a complaint filed by her Unification Church pastor who had visited the place of her confinement. Ms. MH told the officers that her parents were holding her against her will. The police said they could not intervene because it was a family issue. Ms. MH was only released some time later by her parents on the condition she would not charge her family with false imprisonment and any other related criminal charges. She has kept her word.

"This is another case of outrageous behavior by the Japanese police," said Dan Fefferman of the International Coalition for Religious Freedom, which has been tracking forced de-conversion in Japan since the late 1990s. "The police not only looked the other way while a human rights felony was in progress, but they clearly refused to aid the victim after it was determined she had been unlawfully confined."

Ms. MH is one of an estimated 4,300 members of the Unification Church who has been subjected to human rights violations over the past 40 years. Between 10 to 20 Unification Church members are currently abducted each year in Japan to undergo forced de-conversions.

Source: International Coalition for Religious Freedom