(Continued) The only reason for them all not being represented by the same people, is due to the choice of the families and the advise of their Rabbeim. Rabbi Mendel Shafran, a Dayan in Bnei Brak, provides some funding, to both of these groups, from collections made via Kupat Hair.
Yossi, the youngest boy, had his trial, ending on Feb 10, of this year, and in April, was sentenced to 5 to 8 years. He was transferred from his jail in the Tokyo suburb of Chiba, to a Juvenile Prison. He (and the other boys) was and is, completely alone. Though strictly speaking, their condition is not called solitary confinement, due to the fact that they can see their jailer, and don’t receive their food through a hole in a door, however they have no interaction with any other people. They are not allowed visitors, other than their parents, who have seen them a few times, their lawyers, and officials of the Israeli Embassy.
Yossi, now is waiting for the process of preparing his transfer to Israel be completed. There was a treaty for prisoner exchange, between Israel and Japan, made a few years ago , and legally there is nothing stopping this transfer, other that the bureaucratic process.
It has been reported in the English Hamodia paper, that Rabbi Bleich , a rabbi in Ukraine, flew to Japan in late July, to receive a signature from the Japanese Justice minister to enable yossi’s release within ten days. This Report is False. According to Rabbi Bleich, he never met with the minister as reported. Additionally Vaad Hatzala has confirmed that the claim by some people that the minister signed a release, did not happen. According to Yossi’s lawyer, the lengthy process of arranging the transfer is still ongoing. This fact has been confirmed , by multiple officials in the Israeli Justice Ministry, and the Israeli embassy in Japan. According to the Embassy, the normal amount of time needed for such a transfer to be arranged, is one year from the sentence. It is unclear how this false story became circulated to the media.
Some of the information disseminated about the condition of the boys in jail, is not true. Though the boys are each kept in a small room by themselves, and are not allowed to lay down during the day, they are not forced to sit in any particular position. However, being held in seclusion, would undoubtedly cause a person , some of the worst kind of anguish imaginable, regardless of whether the word torture should be applied to this form of punishment. Their mental and psychological collapse from being in this condition, is almost certain. Seclusion of this kind, for even a few days, would cause an average person long term damage. The cell the boys are each in ,are about 4 ft x 8 ft. All there is in the room, is a roll up mat on which they sleep. During the day, they must roll up this mat, and either sit on the floor, or stand. Their diet consists of bread and a half cucumber, or tomato, per day. They are periodically allowed out of their cell, into a different cell, of the same size, that is open to the sky, for a break of 20 minutes.
Currently, Yossi is in a juvenile prison, and is waiting for the process of transfer to be completed. The other 2 boys are waiting for trial. A trial date has not yet been arranged.
Vaad Hatzala Japan, are people from Lakewood NJ, who have been involved in the effort to free these boys. (To contact the Vaad Hatzala, please email TLS).
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