Former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn was wrongly detained in Japan, according to a panel of human rights experts working with the United Nations.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said there should be “compensation” and “other reparations” for Mr Ghosn from the Japanese government.
The four-member panel found that Mr Ghosn’s detention in Japan in late 2018 and early 2019 was “arbitrary” and called on Japan’s government to “take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of Mr Ghosn without delay”.
The 66-year-old has Brazilian, French and Lebanese citizenship and led Japanese carmaker Nissan for two decades, rescuing it from near-bankruptcy.
He was arrested in November 2018 on charges of breach of trust, misusing company assets for personal gain, and violating securities laws in not fully disclosing his compensation. He denies wrongdoing.
Last December, he fled Japan to Lebanon while out on bail awaiting trial.
Interpol has issued a “red” wanted notice, but his extradition from Lebanon is unlikely.
Earlier this year, when speaking of his arrest, he said he had been “brutally taken from my world as I knew it” and compared it to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941.
The group of independent experts has asked Japan to ensure a “full and independent investigation” of Mr Ghosn’s detention.
It also called for the government “to take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of his rights”.
The group’s 17-page opinion read: “The Working Group considers that, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, the appropriate remedy would be to accord Mr Ghosn an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law.”
Mr Ghosn has accused Nissan and Japanese officials of conspiring to bring him down to block a fuller integration of Nissan with its French partner Renault.
The opinions of the working group, which was created nearly 30 years ago by a UN-backed human rights body, are not binding on countries.
Among its past rulings is the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who was also deemed to have had his human rights violated.
Mr Ghosn’s lawyers filed a petition with the group in March last year, appealing to its role to look into cases in which governments are alleged to have wrongly detained individuals under agreed international human rights conventions.