Myanmar sentences Japanese journalist Toru Kubota to 10 years for covering anti-government protest

Bangkok, October 6: A court in military-ruled Myanmar has sentenced a Japanese journalist to prison after filming an anti-government protest in July, a Japanese diplomat said Thursday. Toru Kubota was sentenced on Wednesday to seven years for violating the Electronic Transactions Law and three years for incitement, said Tetsuo Kitada, deputy chief of mission at the Japanese embassy. The sentences were to be served concurrently. An immigration violation charge is reportedly still pending.

The Electronic Transactions Act covers offenses of disseminating false or inflammatory information online and carries a prison sentence of seven to 15 years. Incitement is a catch-all political law covering activities deemed to cause unrest and has been used frequently against journalists and dissidents, usually punishable by up to three years in prison. Myanmar National Airlines plane attacked near Loikaw airport, one injured.

Kubota was arrested on July 30 by plainclothes police in Yangon, the country’s largest city, after taking photos and videos of a flash protest against the military’s 2021 takeover of Myanmar, which overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Kubota was the fifth foreign journalist detained in Burma after the army seized power. US citizens Nathan Maung and Danny Fenster, who worked for local publications, and independents Robert Bociaga from Poland and Yuki Kitazumi from Japan were eventually deported before serving full prison sentences.

Around 150 journalists in total have been arrested, more than half of whom have been released, but the media remain under strict restrictions. Free media are forced to operate underground or from abroad.

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from syndicated news feed, Fresh Headline staff may not have edited or edited the body of the content)

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