Carlos Ghosn is in a far nicer prison today. The former head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and now-wanted fugitive fled the Japanese judicial system for the safety of Lebanon in a dramatic made-for-movies escape. He left a prison system condemned internationally for violating human rights and will not return to Japan; Lebanon does not extradite its citizens.
While Ghosn is reunited with his wife at their Lebanon home, he cannot travel: A Red Notice issued by Interpol for his extradition at Japan's request makes him a prisoner within the country. Still, the situation is markedly better than the alternative for the man who led one of the world's largest automotive conglomerates until his surprise arrest on November 19, 2018, for under-reporting income.
In a video interview with Motor Trend from his home in Beirut, Ghosn says he is physically fine after his ordeal, despite his isolation during imprisonment in a cell with a straw mat and rolled-up mattress. He says he was required to sit on the floor for hours, creating numb legs and a sore back, was granted 30 minutes of fresh air on weekdays, and underwent lengthy daily interrogations without legal representation. “I don't wish my worst enemies to go through the system,” he says, calling it a joke, masquerade, and a show.
In his new book, Broken Alliances, Ghosn says he hit bottom after a month in a place where suicide is not an option. "Everything is done to lead you to despair. But you're prevented from committing the act,” he writes.
Today he says he realizes how rich his life was after losing everything: freedom, family, employment, human rights. When a small portion is restored, you are happier than you were with everything before. Instead of bitterness, he feels immense gratitude for simple things like waking in the morning and having coffee with his wife or calling his children.
Ghosn was out on bail and under house arrest when he escaped in December 2019.
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