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Yugoslav national faces death following ill-treatment and lack of medical attention in prison

'This man's plight highlights long-standing concerns about the Japanese prison system,' Amnesty International said. 'Everyone should be treated humanely, whatever crime they have committed.'

Thirty-six year old Yugoslav national, Zdravko Radonjic, was arrested for shoplifting in June 2000 and was allegedly beaten by prison guards after complaining about harsh prison conditions . He was not allowed to see his family or contact the Yugoslav embassy until August.

Zdravko Radonjic has been on a hunger strike since June and force-fed via a nasal drip since August. He has dropped over 40 kilograms in weight and needs help to walk. Despite his deteriorating condition, Zdravko Radonjic was only transferred to hospital this week.

Prison conditions in Japan are notoriously harsh. In October, Zdravko Radonjic said that he was punched and kicked until he lost consciousness after he complained about not being allowed to send a letter to his family. His legal representation has also been inadquate due to communication problems.

Amnesty International is calling on the Ministry of Justice to ensure Zdravko Radonjic receives medical treatment in a civilian hospital and is given adequate legal representation.

The authorities should also launch an inquiry into his alleged ill-treatment and inadequate medical treatment which led to the serious deterioration in his health. The results of the investigation should be made public and those responsible for denying Zdravko Radonjic his human rights should be held to account.

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