Senate Minority Leader Kurt Fevella (District 19 – ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages) recently penned a letter to U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel in support of leniency and requesting clemency on behalf of U.S. Navy officer Lieutenant Ridge Alkonis. Lieutenant Alkonis is serving a three-year prison sentence for negligent driving.
In the letter, Senator Fevella wrote, “Too many lives continue to be impacted as a result of this horrific accident that investigators of the U.S. Navy concluded occurred when Lieutenant Alkonis lost consciousness due to Acute Mountain Sickness. Lieutenant Alkonis has expressed his sorrow and remorse over the resulting deaths and has paid $1.65 million to the victims’ families as restitution, which is a custom in Japan and has previously led to suspended sentences.”
Lieutenant Alkonis continues to maintain that he was not afforded due process in Japan. While there were initial efforts made to pursue a prison transfer so that he could serve out the rest of his sentence in the United States, those efforts were rejected by the Alkonis family as Lieutenant Alkonis would be considered a felon in his own country.
Senator Fevella concluded, “Options such as expelling Lieutenant Alkonis from Japan or issuing a pardon are alternatives the United States should pursue to get our U.S. soldier home immediately.”