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wife a US Navy Lieutenant who was sentenced to three years in a Japanese prison after being involved in a traffic accident that killed two people, said she is doing her best to reunite her children with their father.
“This is about my children, although it’s hard for us, but my children are paying for the alliance and politics,” said Brittany Alconis, the wife of a Navy lieutenant. Ridge Alconis told Fox News Digital. “They are young and in their infancy. They need a father.”
The ordeal for the family began after the campaign Japanese mountain. fuji shortly before Lieutenant Alconis was set to deploy. The family was in Japan for about a year and nine months before hiking on a three-year tour of the country, hoping to leave some memories for himself and his children before he leaves for most of next year. .
But the memory turned into a tragedy when Lieutenant. Alconis was injured while driving on the family’s return trip, crashing into two cars which then collided with two pedestrians who died from their injuries.
“That day we were riding above sea level and by the end of the trip we were over 8,000 feet,” recalls Brittany Alconis. “We walked until we thought it was getting too dangerous for the kids and decided to go back. We were only 5 minutes from our destination, Ridge was just talking to our oldest daughter when he passed out. about 25 mph, but he didn’t regain consciousness.”
Alconis said she was too feeling nauseous due to elevation changes, which caused her to lean back in her seat and fall asleep shortly before the accident. She no longer opened her eyes before the impact, and her daughter unsuccessfully tried to wake her father.
“It all happened so quickly,” Alconis recalled.
Lieutenant Alconis was arrested at the scene, which his wife believed was commonplace while the accident was investigated by authorities. But her husband was soon subjected to interrogations and solitary confinement and was never released from custody.
“It was not a drunk driver, he did not fall asleep, but then everything went downhill,” Alconis said.
lieutenant Later, Alconis was diagnosed with acute mountain sickness, which is caused by climbing to high altitude too quickly and can cause sudden fainting for up to 24 hours, but this diagnosis was of little use in the unique Japanese judicial system.
The family’s lawyer explained that it is customary in Japan to show remorse in court instead of trying to prove one’s innocence, which results in the family issuing a formal apology for the accident and paying $1.65 million in damages. They were told that over 95% of people who follow the same path receive suspended sentences, but Lieutenant V. Alkonis was given the full three-year sentence. An appeal in which Lieutenant Colonel Alconis was also denied a medical diagnosis, leaving the family with little opportunity for justice.
“If we knew he was going to jail anyway, we would have told them no,” Alconis said. “The results of both trials exceeded all expectations.”
Worse still, Alconis believes that one of the reasons her husband is not being treated fairly is because the powerful member of the court is a family member of one of those killed in the accident.
“One of the dead is a family member of the Tokyo High Court prosecutor who has a lot of influence,” Alconis said. “I believe it has something to do with his sentencing.”
Her husband’s case received a rare bipartisan attention on Capitol Hill, from Sep. Mike Lee, R-Utah and Rep. Mike Levine, State of California, both call on Japan to release the lieutenant. Alconis.
“I find it inexcusable that an American who needed a medical emergency should be treated so badly by the ally he is protecting,” Lee said during a Senate floor speech last week.
“Obviously, the Japanese judiciary is trying to make Lt. Alconis an example, perhaps due to the history of controversy over our Status of Forces Agreement,” Li added. “He was targeted because he is an American and because he was in the unfortunate position of needing a medical emergency that led to tragedy.”
The Status of Forces Agreement, the treaty that governs matters between US military personnel and host governments between the US and Japan, has long been a source of controversy among the Japanese. While Japanese courts retain jurisdiction over crimes committed by US troops in the country, exceptions to the rule sometimes evoke negative sentiment from Japanese authorities who believe that US troops have additional privileges.
Levin made it clear that the Pentagon must do more in this matter, vowing that he will continue to work to ensure the safety of the lieutenant. Liberation of Alconis.
“I won’t turn down Lieutenant Alkonis, and neither should the Department of Defense,” he said.
The case also has implications for an alliance that has been stable for decades, which Lee acknowledged and also called for President Biden make it a priority.
“We have been allies for a long time,” Li said.
Mrs. Alconis also hopes to engage the White House, noting that the legislators’ support gives her “hope that the momentum is starting to move in our direction.”
“I’m constantly doing everything to get him out of jail,” Alconis said. “I’m going to D.C. in a couple of weeks to talk to the national security adviser or President Biden, I’ll stay as long as it takes.”
Meanwhile, Alconis said the ordeal had taken a toll on her family. Unlike business trips, where she can explain to her children that their father is doing something meaningful and important, being in prison is something her youngest child “does not understand.”
Communication is also difficult, limited to regular mail and two short 20-minute visits a month. The grim reality forced Alconis to focus on the release of her husband.
“I hope something comes out of the trip to Washington,” Alconis said. “It is important for children to see that we are fighting for justice. We are not asking for special treatment, we just want to be treated the way any Japanese citizen would be treated.”
Ashley Papa of Fox News contributed to this report.