Jailed Naval Officer Returning to US after Release in Japan

(IntegrityPress.org) – US Navy officer Lt. Ridge Alkonis, who was previously imprisoned in Japan for negligent driving causing two deaths, has been relocated to a federal prison in Los Angeles, marking his return to the US. A spokesperson for the family, Jonathan Franks, stated that Alkonis is now held in a federal lockup in Los Angeles, expressing discontent that it might take up to 90 days for his family to visit.

The Alkonis family issued a statement expressing encouragement about the transfer. They acknowledged Alkonis’ 507 days in confinement and his return to the US but emphasized that true celebration awaits his reunion with the family.

US officials affirmed Alkonis’ return, revealing that Vice President Kamala Harris and national security adviser Jake Sullivan directly facilitated his transfer under international prisoner conventions. These conventions enable individuals to serve their remaining sentence in their home country. The US Parole Commission within the Department of Justice will evaluate Alkonis’ case upon his return, considering factors like his military record and status as a model prisoner. This assessment could lead to various outcomes, including home custody.

Alkonis, stationed in Japan, received a 3-year sentence in October 2021 for negligent driving causing multiple deaths. Despite his claim of suffering from acute mountain sickness, the court rejected this argument. Alkonis’ family, contending his illness and asserting no criminal intent, proposed over $1 million in restitution to the victims’ families.

The family advocated for Alkonis’ transfer under the Council of Europe (COE) Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, allowing him to complete his sentence in the US. Twenty Republican senators previously appealed to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for Alkonis’ expulsion, highlighting the Navy investigation’s conclusion on acute mountain sickness. The Alkonis family expressed gratitude for the US government’s efforts in facilitating his transfer back to the US.

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