NAHA, Okinawa — Looking tired and pale after almost 11 months of confinement, Dag Allen Thompson charged Thursday that police and the prosecutor assigned to his case physically and mentally tortured him during daily interrogation sessions to try to get him to confess to raping two Okinawa women.

Thompson, 31, a Kadena Exchange new car salesman, has pleaded not guilty to burglary and rape charges in connection with incidents in Naha in June 1998 and Chatan in August 2004. He was arrested Oct. 15 after a 21-year-old Chatan woman identified him as the person she said attacked her while she slept.

Thompson’s trial began in January. Crime lab experts testified his DNA samples match the DNA from semen at both rape scenes. One expert set at one in 3.482 billion the odds that someone else’s DNA would match Thompson’s.

Thursday’s hearing was the 15th Naha District Court session before a three-judge panel. Reading from a 23-page statement, Thompson said police and prosecutor Masahisa Yokota coerced him into making a statement about the Chatan incident.

He said Yokota “said he could have my family and friends arrested and brought to him for questioning.”

Thompson said he was handcuffed to a chair and surrounded by detectives who yelled at him and “poked and prodded” him whenever he dropped his head.

“They kept threatening the welfare of my family until I was in tears,” Thompson said. “After a long time, under extreme intimidation and when I was extremely distraught, being forced against my will, I wrote a statement.”

The former Marine acknowledged “possibly knowing” the woman in the Chatan case but denied he sexually assaulted her.

The woman testified she’d never seen Thompson before the night she was attacked.

Thompson said for his first 23 days of confinement, he was unable to see a lawyer and was interrogated for more than eight hours daily while handcuffed to a chair.

“I could not eat or sleep,” he said. “I was not allowed to go to the bathroom when needed.”

He said he was told the Okinawa public was outraged at the crimes and knew where his wife and two children lived.

“They kept me in a state of total despair … made me believe I had no rights. My requests for a lawyer and to remain silent were ignored and laughed at,” he said.

Thompson said the detectives took pictures of his family from his wallet and tore them up in front of him, “telling me that by the time I’d see them again they would have forgotten me.”

He was granted permission in July to have his family visit.

Prosecutor Yokota did not address Thompson’s allegations in court Thursday. He said he will cross-examine Thompson at the next court session.

Japan’s constitution guarantees the right against self-incrimination, but Takashi Takano, a criminal law professor at Waseda University Law School in Tokyo, said it’s interpreted loosely.

“It is a right written on paper,” he said. “But in reality, no one can exercise the right in Japan because of another clause that demands a suspect to go through questioning.”

Interrogators, he said, need not suspend questioning when a suspect asserts the right to be silent.

And unless a suspect requests a specific lawyer, Takano said, “there is no obligation for police or prosecutor to let the suspect contact a counselor.”

Thompson’s next court session is scheduled for Sept. 27.

Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.

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