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Myanmar court jails Japanese filmmaker for 10 years

| Updated: October 06, 2022 17:10:43


A portrait photo of Japanese documentary filmmaker Toru Kubota, who has been detained in Myanmar after filming a protest that took place on July 30, 2022, is displayed during a news conference by his friends including a radio personality Nikki Tsukamoto Kininmonth to call for his release at Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Japan on August 3, 2022 — Reuters/Files A portrait photo of Japanese documentary filmmaker Toru Kubota, who has been detained in Myanmar after filming a protest that took place on July 30, 2022, is displayed during a news conference by his friends including a radio personality Nikki Tsukamoto Kininmonth to call for his release at Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Japan on August 3, 2022 — Reuters/Files

A court in military-ruled Myanmar has jailed a Japanese documentary filmmaker for 10 years for violating sedition and communications laws, a Japanese foreign ministry official said on Thursday.

Toru Kubota, 26, was arrested in July at a protest in Myanmar's main city of Yangon. At the time, it was reported he faced charges of breaking an immigration law and encouraging dissent against the ruling military, reports Reuters.

Kubota was on Wednesday sentenced to three years in prison for sedition and seven years for violating a law on telecommunications, the ministry official said, citing the filmmaker's lawyer.

A court hearing on his alleged violation of the immigration control law is scheduled for October 12, the official said.

"We have been asking Myanmar authorities for Mr Kubota's early release, and we intend to keep on doing so," he said.

Calls to a Myanmar military spokesperson seeking comment were not answered. The junta says Myanmar's courts are independent and those arrested are receiving due process.

Myanmar has been trapped in a spiral of violence since the military overthrew an elected government last year. The junta has arrested thousands including politicians, bureaucrats, students, journalists, and foreigners as it attempts to smother dissent.

A Japanese freelance journalist was arrested last year and charged with spreading false news in his coverage of anti-coup protests. He was later freed with the junta saying his release was in recognition the two countries' close ties.

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