The Senator has been calling for Alkonis’ transfer back to U.S. soil since early this year, and is now urging President Biden to pardon him.
In a striking development, Senator Mike Lee's fervent advocacy appears to have influenced the situation of Lt. Ridge Alkonis.
Following Lee's urgent calls for intervention, Alkonis, who was previously detained in Japan and is now transferred to a California federal prison, is no longer is facing incarceration overseas. This change comes in the wake of Lee highlighting Alkonis' case for months, where a sudden medical condition led to a tragic car accident while serving in Japan, resulting in two fatalities.
“Just give Lt. Alkonis back to the U.S. Navy and let him compete his sentence on U.S. soil or in a U.S. Navy brig,” Lee said to the Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on X, formerly known as Twitter. “I can almost guarantee that you’ll be more pleased with that outcome than you will be if you continue down your current path.”
After 507 of incarceration in a Japanese prison, Alkonis was transferred back to the U.S. around December 15, but still remains in federal prison in Los Angeles to the dismay of his family and supporters.
“He’s finally out of his Japanese prison cell, where he’s patiently suffered for last 18 months being punished for his involvement in a tragic car accident caused by an unforeseeable medical emergency,” Lee wrote.
“Sadly, he returned to the U.S. today not in triumph, but in handcuffs—not collapsing into the loving arms of family, but thrown into a federal prison in Los Angeles.”
He added, “Lt. Ridge Alkonis is an American hero who deserves better than this.”
In further posts, Lee urged President Biden to pardon or commute Alkonis’ sentence.