Responding to reports that a military-controlled court in Myanmar sentenced Japanese filmmaker Toru Kubota to serve a total of seven years in prison, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns Ming Yu Hah said:
“With this latest verdict Myanmar’s military is cementing its reputation as one of the top jailers of journalists in the world.
“Filming a protest is not a crime. Myanmar’s military should release Toru Kubota immediately and let him go home. It should also drop charges against and release all journalists arrested and sentenced simply for doing their job.
“It is extremely dangerous to be a journalist in Myanmar today, where military authorities regularly trample on the right to freedom of information and media. Since seizing power in the coup last year, they have banned media outlets, arrested, beaten, sexually assaulted and even killed journalists in custody.”
Japanese documentary filmmaker Toru Kubota was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of incitement and seven years for violating a law on electronic communications. The sentences will be served concurrently for a total of seven years, according to reports.
Toru Kubota was apparently detained after covering a protest in Myanmar’s biggest city Yangon in July 2022. His trial was held in a secretive, military-controlled court, and he appears to have been jailed for filming the protest, which should not be a crime.
He is one of more than 15,000 people arrested since Myanmar’s military coup on 1 February, 2021.
Amnesty International continues to call for the release of anyone arbitrarily detained in Myanmar for peacefully exercising their human rights.