Japanese documentary maker Toru Kubota has been sentenced to ten years in prison by a court in Myanmar. The 26-year-old producer was first detained at an anti-government rally in Yangon in July.
He was jailed for three years for sedition and seven years for breaching the Electronic Communications Act, the BBC reported. It is not clear whether he will be able to serve these sentences concurrently.
He faces yet another charge of violating immigration laws next week.
According to Japanese news agency Kyodo, Myanmar’s junta claims Kubota entered Myanmar from neighboring Thailand using a tourist visa and took part in anti-government protests in 2021.
They also said he had previously reported on the Rohingya minority.
Kubota first arrived in Myanmar in July. Then he made a documentary about a man from Myanmar. This information was known at the beginning of this year through one of his friends.
According to filmmaker site Film Freeway, Kubota began his career in 2014 after meeting a Rohingya refugee in Japan. Later he made several films on ‘Refugees and ethnic issues in Myanmar’.
His Instagram profile also includes several photos of Rohingya refugees since 2017.
A Japanese freelance journalist was also arrested and charged with spreading false news early last year.
However, he was later released. But Myanmar authorities claim he violated the law and are releasing him at the request of the Japanese government.
More than 15,600 people, including lawmakers, activists and journalists, have been arrested since the military overthrew the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021.