Burmese junta sentences Japanese journalist for sedition and other charges

Photo via Reporting ASEAN

The Burmese junta sentenced a Japanese journalist for sedition violating a law on electronic communications.

The media reported that Toru Kubota, a 26 year old photographer and documentary filmmaker, was arrested at a protest in the South Dagon Township in the southeastern area of Yangon on July 30. The report said he was arrested while gathering information for his documentary.

The deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Japan in Myanmar, Tetsuo Kitada, announced yesterday that Kubota has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. He said Kubota has been sentenced to three years for sedition, and seven years over the communications charges, citing a lawyer representing Kubota.

Kitada said the Japanese embassy is “doing its best” to secure an early release for Kubota, CNN reported. He said that Kubota’s lawyer was not allowed to be present when the military court’s ruling was made.

This news comes after the junta arrested a former UK ambassador to Myanmar, along with her husband, on August 24. On September 2, the junta sentenced them to a year in prison.

The former ambassador, Vicky Bowman, is the director of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business. She served as the UK’s ambassador to Myanmar from 2002-2006. Her husband, Htein Lin, is a Burmese artist and former political prisoner. He was imprisoned for leading student protests against the old military junta in 1998 and released in 2004.

Myanmar’s junta government, which came to power through a coup in February 2021, has faced multiple accusations of human rights abuses and war crimes. The government is notorious for torturing and imprisoning ethnic minorities.

In July, in the first executions in Myanmar in decades, the military junta killed four democracy activists they accused of terrorist activities.

World News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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