Matzav.com continuing Japan coverage: Dear Yidden around the world:
חסדי ד’ כי לא תמנו:
Monday 29th August:
After our report (29.08), that the Chiba District Court ruled in favour of the defense, and handed down a full acquittal ב”ה for Yoel Zev נ”י, we were still pensive and unsure whether the Prosecution Office would appeal the ‘non guilty’ verdict at the Tokyo High Court.
The prosecution office had 14 days in which they could do so.
The tzibur were asked to continue to be mispallel for Yoel Zev ben Mirel Risa Chava, for his safe return home.
As explained previously, immediately after the court session was adjourned, immigration officials took Yoel Zev into their custody on account of overstaying his 90-day visa in 2008.
With abated breath, delicate efforts began to determine the stance of the prosecution, and to convey a legal insistence to the Tokyo High Court to abstain from accepting any plea attempt.
Likewise, the defence attorneys prepared a petition against detention, to be immediately submitted to the High Court in the event that an appeal is filed.
Based on the magnitude of the case and the large amount of compelling evidence, we sincerely hope that the Prosecution Office will decide not to appeal. The Prosecution Office tend to shy away from appealing a verdict which they suspect would prove difficult to overturn. In Japan, losing an appeal is deemed an embarrassment. Additionally, Judge Hadoko who handed down the ‘non guilty’ verdict is one of Japans elite judges. This could mean that it is too big a challenge to try to overturn his verdict. The High prosecution office know him well, and would not try to slap him in the face when there’s a chance of losing.
Tuesday 30th August:
8 am: An explanation stating the cause of Yoel Zev’s delayed exit from Japan was prepared by the legal team, and presented to the Investigation Division at the Immigration Office.
10 am: At the Immigration Office, officers at the investigation division opened a file for the deportation of Yoel Zev and after a questioning session, asked Yoel Zev to sign some documents.
During his detention, Yoel Zev has amassed a library of seforim and clothing, sent to him by the askonim and his family. To avoid delays at the airport due to excessive baggage, we removed the bulk of Yoel Zev’s belongings from the immigration centre.
Yoel Zev נ”י has for the first time since 03 April 2008 held a telephone conversation. We acquired several telephone cards allowing Yoel Zev to speak freely to his family, rebbes, and friends.
Wednesday 31st August:
We understood from officers at the Immigration Office, that the investigation phase of Yoel Zev’s deportation process was completed, and at 2 pm the report was submitted to the Decision Department. Yoel Zev was not asked to sign any additional documents.
Thursday 1st September:
Defense attorneys contacted Decision Officers at the Immigration Centre to ask them to furnish us with the necessary exit permit without delay.
Yoel Zev’s spirits are high and hopeful b”h.
Much red-tape is involved in the allocation of tickets, airlines consent to carry a deportee, and appropriate travel route.
Our travel agency, based in USA, made provisional contingency plans, holding seats on several flights to various destinations, on each day since Yoel Zev’s acquittal, so that when the exit permit would be granted, the seats would be immediately available.
Friday, 2nd September:
Mr Ozawa, a defence attorney, called the Immigration Office at 10am. The decision officer told him that the decision is underway. Upon pressing for swifter action, he was told “if you call in the afternoon my answer will be the same!” Mr. Ozawa says this means they will not be rendering a decision today, and they will probably give it on Monday coming.
Mr. Nakayama, a Japanese member of parliament who has befriended the askonim, explained that since a new government is being established today, many officials are absent due to the commotion, which in turn could be the reason for the delay in receiving the exit permit.
Mr. Kuroda, a friend we have who is well acquainted with officials at the Japanese Ministry of Justice, cautioned that the delay is perhaps due to the Immigration Office having contacted the Prosecution Office to ask whether they should release Yoel Zev.
Officers at the Immigration Office claim that there is nothing holding up issuing the Exit Permit. They presented a chart of the procedure and showed where they are up to now. They added that there would be no chance of getting a decision today. Shabbos and Sunday the Immigration Office is closed. It is hoped that on Monday they will have their decision, and send it to the Deportation Department.
Upon the requests of MK Eli Yishai, representatives of the Israeli Embassy held a meeting with Aron Nezri to discuss strategy, prior to their meeting with investigation and decision officers at the Immigration Centre, and tried to press for a Deportation Order to be issued today, Friday. However, they explained to us that this would not be possible until Monday.
Meanwhile we have arranged backup seating available on outgoing flights on Monday night and on Tuesday morning.
In Eretz Yisroel, the Beis Din of the Edoh Hachareidis issued a new proclamation requesting klal yisroel to daven for the quick release of Yoel Zev and quick transfer of Yakov Yosef.
In Japan there were ב”ה some positive indications. Yoel Zev’s passport and some other personal belongings that were confiscated by the Prosecution Office at the time of arrest were returned to him.
This is a good sign, but not necessarily an indication that the prosecutor will not appeal. The defense attorneys advised that although the prosecutor cannot hold on to an acquitted subjects personal belongings; nevertheless it is still a positive sign. We remain cautious.
On another note, Japan appointed a new Justice Minister on Friday. He announced that he would not sign any death penalties.
After consulting with leading poskim, Yoel Zev was instructed to sign any release papers presented to him on Shabbos. Similarly, Yoel Zev was allowed to travel on Shabbos if the need would arise.
Shabbos – Sunday, 3rd – 4th September:
A sholom zochor was held on Shabbos at the home of Chabad Shliach Rabbi Binyomin Edery for the birth of his newborn son. The Bris Milah took place on Sunday. The baby was named “Nissim Ariel”; Nissim in commemoration of Yoel Zev’s sudden – and to many also unexpected – acquittal. A few guests from Los Angeles had come for shabbos to take part in the bris.
On Sunday, Typhoon Talas swept through west Japan, this affecting many inbound and outgoing flights.
Monday 5th September:
As on every day, Aron Nezri visited Yoel Zev at 9 am together with a defence attorney, to clarify the status of the procedure and guide Yoel Zev further.
At 10 am the deportation order was finally issued and presented to the deportation department for execution.
New air tickets were purchased. Scheduling of deportation escorts were put in place.
Tickets for accompanying father and askonim were now secured.
A frenzied but fulfilling day.
Tuesday 6th September:
Flight to Freedom אי”ה:
The long awaited day has finally arrived, 6th September 2011, Tuesday morning in Japan, Yoel Zev will all being well be allowed to travel home.
Security personnel from the deportation division of the Immigration Centre will escort Yoel Zev from the Tokyo Immigration Centre to the Narita International Airport. At the airport, he will be detained in an immigration cell until the boarding time of his flight out of Japan.
After all passengers have already boarded, Yoel Zev will be brought to the door of the aircraft flanked by two officials from the Tokyo Immigration Office.
Once Yoel Zev boards the aircraft he is a free man, and once airborne we’re sure he will taste the freedom that we have all longed for.
May we all be zoche to חירות עולם with the coming of משיח בב”א.
Contrary to some rumours, no country seeks extradition of Yoel Zev.
Together with Yoel Zev on the flight will be, his father, Aron Nezri who has carefully coordinated the immigration procedures, and a friend of the family who has spent many months visiting the bochurim during the last three years.
Yoel Zev will be departing from Japan during the course of the morning and is scheduled to arrive in Eretz Yisroel on Tuesday night.
We have exercised caution when selecting what kosher food Yoel Zev will eat during his flight to freedom, after not having consumed a morsel of poultry and meat for almost three and a half years.
Current Status of Yakov Yosef ben Reizel:
The dramatic close to this chapter doesn’t bring an end to the Japan saga. Yakov Yosef remains imprisoned על אדמת נכר.
We have therefore planned no public celebration, eventhough the simcho and Kiddush H-ashem would call for one, since Yakov Yosef is not yet home …
Efforts to retain Yakov Yosef’s status at the Chiba detention centre until his transfer to Israel were ב”ה productive.
According to Israeli protocol, one third of the full sentence can be deducted, and the remaining time can also be commuted as per their discretion.
According to this, Yakov Yosef could אי”ה be out of prison within a few months from now.
Efforts are well underway towards expediting his return home to Eretz Yisrael. Please continue to be mispallel for Yaakov Yosef ben Reizel.
On behalf of Dayan Chaim Yosef Dovid Weis of Antwerp, we have so far dedicated three and half years to the defence efforts of the unfortunate bochurim. We hope to soon pick up our lives from where we left off.
We are deeply grateful for the support and cooperation of:
- Attorney, Mr. Rex Beaber (Los Angeles),
- Dr. Yamamura (Osaka, Japan)
- Ex D.E.A. agent, Mr. Mike Levine (NJ, USA),
- Prof. Daniel Aldrich (West Lafayette, Indiana),
- Prof. G. Ben-Schachar (Jeruslaem),
- Prof. Sacha Stern (London),
- Rabbi M.D. Niederman (Williamsburg),
whom, amongst many others, provided expert live testimony and dissertations to the court in defence of the bochurim, and played a major role in securing Yoel Zev’s acquittal. An exhaustive list would be quite impossible. We are indebted to so many.
We won’t easily forget the electrifying moment when the judges proclaimed in Japanese “You are innocent” and the court appointed translator repeating to Yoel Zev “אתה זכאי”.
May we all be זוכה בדין in the upcoming ימי הדין, and may we hear only besuros toivois and simchos in our midst.
Aron Nezri, London – Currently in Tokyo, Japan
Meilech Bindinger, Antwerp