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Diary of captivity in the Solomons [UPDATED]

Life in captivity

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Taylan searches out World War II plane wrecks, safeguards human remains, and returns dog tags to surprised veterans.

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December 15, 2007 @ 5:51 pm GMT-0500

December 15 (Court, Day 4)

<p style=”font-size: 120%; font-weight: bold”>40th Day in Captivity, Fourth Day in Court</p>

We were scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m., but upon arrival at the courthouse, another case was being heard. When it finished, we entered the court.

Today, our defense case continued. Rod, Yoji, and Daisy were all called as witnesses. Although I was already finished, I felt just as tense knowing that my friends were in the witness box today.

Rod was the first witness called to the stand. Behind the witness box, he was confident and accurate. I knew the day was off to a good start.

Next was Yoji. Before he was sworn in, our lawyer requested that he take an oath of affirmation, instead of swearing on the Bible, since he is a Buddhist. The magistrate agreed, but recessed for five minutes while the court searched for the proper wording of the oath. I think it is safe to say that Yoji is the first person to take an oath of affirmation in that Solomon Islands courthouse.

After his oath, we all worried how he would handle the questions, all delivered in English. I imagined what it would be like if I had to testify on my own behalf in a Japanese court, and considered how he must feel. He asked for a few questions to be repeated, but otherwise did an outstanding job. Even the magistrate and prosecutor assisted him as best they could with his English answers.

Finally, it was Daisy’s turn. She is the youngest in the group and the most worried about the trial. Like the others, she defended herself perfectly and spoke very well. At the conclusion of her questions, the defense rested our case.

The magistrate requested that the final arguments for the prosecution and defense be submitted to him by the afternoon, in writing. The court recessed until Monday morning, when the magistrate would decide the case. The trial was finally over! Now, and until Monday morning, just the waiting game.

No matter what happens, I am proud of my friends, and myself. We completed the trial, and defended ourself to the best of our abilities. Whatever the future holds for us, I respect and admire each of them. It is a proud feeling to know that we have fought to defend ourselves and that we did it together.

Back on the boat, it was time to celebrate because our part in the trial was done. During the afternoon, we got a surprise phone call. Our friend, the author Henry Sakaida, called from Los Angeles to wish us well. Daisy answered the phone, and afterwards we showed her Los Angeles on the map and showed her his book, <i>The Siege of Rabaul</i>, which she began reading. What a treat to hear a friend’s voice from far away!

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