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As you can imagine, today is a very important day for me. One that I have looked forward to every single day for more than 400 days since I was brutally taken from my world as I knew it, ripped from my family, my friends, my communities, from Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi and the 450,000 women and men who comprise those companies. I have not experienced a moment of freedom since November 19, 2018. It is impossible... it is impossible to express the depths of that deprivation and my profound appreciation to once again be able to be reunited with my family and loved ones.
Today also is poignant reminder of the day precisely one year ago when I appeared before many of you as well as a Japanese judge and prosecutors in Tokyo. I pleaded my innocence while constrained by handcuffs and bound by a leash around my waist which was used to walk me into the courtroom. I was in the midst of being held indefinitely in solitary confinement after several failed attempt at bail.
I had just spent the Christmas and new year holiday alone and in confinement, and I hadn't spoken to or seen my family for six weeks. My only contact with them were letters shown to me by lawyers through a looking glass. I had spent the previous months being interrogated for up to eight hours a day without any lawyers present, without an understanding of what exactly I was being accused of, without access to the evidence that justify this travesty against my human rights and dignity.