Myanmar sends Japanese filmmaker to jail for 10 years

Yangon, Myanmar | AFP— Myanmar’s junta has jailed a Japanese filmmaker for 10 years for encouraging dissent against the military and violating an electronic communications law, a diplomatic source told AFP on 6 October.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since its generals ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government in February 2021, sparking an uprising and military crackdown that have left thousands dead.

Toru Kubota on 5 October was sentenced by the court in Yangon’s Insein prison, a diplomat at Japan’s embassy in Myanmar said, adding that the filmmaker’s trial for violating immigration law was “still continuing.”

Kubota, 26, was detained near an anti-government rally in Yangon in July along with two Myanmar citizens.

He was initially charged under a law that criminalizes encouraging dissent against the military, and with breaching immigration charges.

The dissent charge carries a maximum three-year jail term and has been widely used in the crackdown on opposition to the coup.

The next hearing for the immigration charge would take place on 12 October, the source added.

A junta spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

According to a profile on FilmFreeway, Kubota has previously made documentaries on Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority and “refugees and ethnic issues in Myanmar.”

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