Activities of WATCH in case of arrests and other police repressions

WATCH is a network of lawyers established to monitor human rights infringements by police authorities before and during the G8 Summit in 2008. Watch exists parallel to other legal teams organised by activists.
WATCH has nothing to do with these other legal teams managerially, but WATCH is in contact and exchanges information with them.

The prime objective of WATCH is to prevent human rights infringements. In order to achieve this object, WATCH has published basic legal information about the criminal procedure in Japan and other topics necessary for activists to protect themselves against illegal repression.
Furthermore, WATCH will attend the demonstration in Sapporo on July 5th and observe police behaviour, with the support of media activists record cases of police repression, and publish these cases for the scrutiny of international society.

As a basic principle, WATCH does not directly support people who have been arrested. Also, WATCH does not collect comprehensive information about all the arrestees and organise support for these people. If an activist from abroad gets arrested, it is the task of the inviting group to organise support for him/her. If there is no inviting group, WATCH will do the best to give support, but please be forewarned that, due to lack of personnel, WATCH is not able to offer support in every case.

If you get arrested, please ask for the so-called duty lawyer, in Japanese tôban bengoshi. The duty lawyer is a lawyer provided by the local bar association, and the first time she or he provides you with legal counsel it is free of charge. You can imagine the duty lawyer as an emergency doctor who gives you a first-aid treatment. You can call her or him just by saying to the police at the police station that you want to see a duty lawyer.
Then the police will contact the local bar association which will send a duty lawyer to you. Also, your friends and supporters can call the local bar association to order a duty lawyer for you. The telephone numbers are listed at the end of this text.
The duty lawyer interviews the arrested person in the absence of police officers and listens to what the arrestee says, gives him/her explanation about his/her rights and the legal procedure and he/she arranges communication between the arrestee and the outside world. If you have invitation groups or other groups who are in charge of taking care of you, ask the duty lawyer to contact them on your behalf.

If you wish to have a legal support by a lawyer after your first interview with the duty lawyer, you have to appoint the duty lawyer or any other lawyer as a private defense lawyer and pay money. However, in certain cases you can make use of financial aid. For details, please ask the duty lawyer.

Duty lawyers are organised by the local bar associations. WATCH is not linked with the duty lawyers. But some members of WATCH may also serve as duty lawyers or as private defense lawyers.

Apart from WATCH, there is a private organisation called Kyûen Renraku Center ("Support Contact Center", tel. 03-3591-1301) which specializes in organising support for arrested activists. If an activist from abroad gets arrested, he/she can also demand at the police station for the police to contact the Kyûen Renraku Center. Kyûen Renraku Center is in fact a specialist in support activities. However, the support by the Kyûen Renraku Center may be limited in Hokkaido owing to geographical reasons. Also, from a linguistic point of view, it might be better for the international activists to ask for a duty lawyer, because the local bar association is more likely to be able to send you an interpreter along with the duty lawyer.

Phone numbers for duty lawyers:

Sapporo 011-272-1010
Tokyo 03-3580-0082
Osaka 06-6363-0080

These phone numbers are meant for the friends and helpers who want to ask for a duty lawyer for the arrestee. The arrestee him-/herself can just say "Please call a duty lawyer" to the police officer at the police station. It might be helpful to write "tôban bengoshi" on your arm before going to a demonstration.

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