American Father Mistreated In Japanese Jail, Attorney Says

TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- The attorney for an American father jailed in Tokyo says his client has fallen victim to harsh treatment in the Japanese prison system.

Attorney Jeremy Morley, in a statement released Monday, said Christopher Savoie -- accused of trying to kidnap his children after his ex-wife took them to Japan -- is being held without trial, interrogated without an attorney present and denied needed medical treatment.

Savoie has also been exposed to sleep deprivation and denied private meetings with attorneys, according to Morley, who said the way his client has been treated amounts to "torture."

Japanese officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Savoie, 38, a Tennessee native and naturalized Japanese citizen, allegedly abducted his two children -- 8-year-old Isaac and 6-year-old Rebecca -- as his ex-wife walked them to school on September 28 in a rural town in southern Japan.

With the children, Savoie headed for the nearest U.S. consulate, in the city of Fukuoka, to try to obtain passports for them. Screaming at guards to let him in the compound, Savoie was steps away from the front gate but still standing on Japanese soil when he was arrested.

Savoie and his first wife, Noriko Savoie, were married for 14 years before their bitter divorce in January. The couple, both citizens of the United States and Japan, lived in Japan, but had moved to the United States before the divorce.

Noriko Savoie was given custody of the children and agreed to remain in the United States. Christopher Savoie had visitation rights. During the summer, she fled with the children to Japan, according to court documents. A U.S. court than granted Christopher Savoie sole custody.

Japanese law, however, recognizes Noriko Savoie as the primary custodian, regardless of the U.S. court order. The law there also follows a tradition of sole-custody divorces. When a couple splits, one parent typically makes a complete and life-long break from the children.

Complicating the matter further is the fact that the couple is still considered married in Japan because they never divorced there, police said Wednesday. And, Japanese authorities say, the children are Japanese and have Japanese passports.


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