Myanmar court jails Japanese filmmaker for 10 years

Japanese documentary filmmaker Toru Kubota was arrested in July at a protest in Myanmar's main city of Yangon

October 06, 2022 10:03 am | Updated 10:03 am IST - TOKYO

This file photo taken on July 31, 2022 shows a group of activists holding up placards with images of Japanese citizen Toru Kubota, who was detained in Myanmar, during a rally in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo. Myanmar’s junta has jailed the Japanese filmmaker Kubota for 10 years for encouraging dissent against the military and violating an electronic communications law.

This file photo taken on July 31, 2022 shows a group of activists holding up placards with images of Japanese citizen Toru Kubota, who was detained in Myanmar, during a rally in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo. Myanmar’s junta has jailed the Japanese filmmaker Kubota for 10 years for encouraging dissent against the military and violating an electronic communications law. | Photo Credit: AFP

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 October 6.

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.

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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