By David Hughes, PA
The mother of a Briton jailed for 14 years for drugs offences in Japan
today claimed he is being subjected to "barbaric" treatment.
Iris Baker’s son Nick, 33, is currently appealing against the conviction
and maintains he was duped by a travelling companion after more than 40,000
ecstasy tablets and nearly a kilogram of cocaine was found in a suitcase at
Tokyo’s Narita Airport.
Mrs Baker, 56, said her son was being held in solitary confinement in the
Tokyo Detention House and had been denied a chair to sit on.
She said her son had complained of severe back pain but prison doctors gave
him a clean bill of health, which meant he was not allowed a chair.
Bookkeeper Mrs Baker, from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, said she would
like Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to
put pressure on the Japanese authorities.
She said: "It beggars belief that in this day and age my son, who has been
pleading with the authorities over there for months, should have to beg for
even the most basic of facilities such as a simple chair to sit on.
"When is the this government going to stand up for the human rights of
British prisoners held under barbaric regimes?"
Mrs Baker added: "I’m trying to get a message to the Japanese government.
"I know the Foreign Office’s hands are tied and there is a limit to what
they can do, but something has got to be done.
"This is certainly not what you expect to be happening in 2005. Japan is
not a third-world country and this should not be happening
"You wouldn’t treat a dog in that way."
Father-of-one Baker was sentenced to 14 years in prison and fined £25,600
in June 2003.
Baker, of Stroud, Gloucestershire, has always claimed the case containing
the drugs belonged to his travelling companion, James Prunier, who fled the
airport when he was arrested.
Prunier, also from Stroud, was later detained and was awaiting trial in
Belgium for similar offences when his body was found on a railway line in
Gloucester in August last year.
A jury inquest into his death returned a suicide verdict at a hearing in
Mrs Baker said she would be flying out for the next appeal hearing in July
but only been granted a short visit to see her son.
She said her campaign would continue after the appeal decision, which is
expected in September.
She said: "This is not just about Nick, it’s about having a fair trial and
someone’s basic human rights being adhered to."
Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman Christian Sharpless said they
were providing support for Baker.
He said: "We have given consular assistance and he is being visited
"We have raised concerns over prison conditions with the Japanese
authorities and we have also raised concerns over aspects of his treatment."
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