The inmates of a Japanese immigration detention centre are on a hunger strike after an Indian detainee committed suicide last week, AFP reported. More than 40 detainees have been on a fast since Sunday, protesting their long-term detention and inability to secure temporary release.
The Indian was found hanging in a shower stall at the East Japan Immigration Centre, northwest of Tokyo. The man is believed to have killed himself a day after authorities refused to release him.
An Iranian detainee told Reuters that those held in the same block where the Indian was housed had launched the strike to pressure the authorities to address their complaints. Foreign detainees in five separate block later joined the strike, Mitsuru Miyasako, an activist who works with the immigrants, told Reuters.
This is the 14th death at a Japanese immigration detention centre since 2006. Japan has strict immigration laws, and had granted refugee status to just 20 people out of nearly 20,000 applicants in 2017, according to AFP. Activists have complained to the government asking it to review the policy on detaining people at immigration centres for long periods of time.