Lukashenka behind reduced term for Japanese artist imprisoned in Belarus

Portret skazanego Japończyka narysowany przez jego brata po widzeniu w kolonii karnej.

Yoko Yoshida, mother of the Japanese man, shared the details of the reduced prison term for her son, the artist Daichi Yoshida, who is in Belarus for illegally carrying firearms across the state border of Belarus.

In conversation with Belsat, Ms Yoshida stated that the order to reduce his term was given by Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

“This was the president’s decision,” Yoko Yoshida said.

According to Ms. Yoshida, her son’s lawyer stated that “this is a very unusual case.”

In 2016, Daichi Yoshida was invited to the mango festival in Odessa. In Kyiv, the artist purchased in the antiques store various pieces of weapons, made before 1945.

Daichi Yoshida flew from Kyiv to Tokyo with connection flights at the airports of Minsk and Abu Dhabi. He claims that the security service at the airport in Kyiv checked and photographed all the pieces of weapons that were in his checked in baggage and allowed him to fly. In Minsk, Daichi Yoshida was detained, and in April 2017 he was sentenced to 4 years 6 months of imprisonment for illegal transportation and transfer of firearms across the state border of the Republic of Belarus.

The fate of the artist became widely known after the blogger Alyaksandr Lapshyn, who happened to be kept in one cell with the Japanese artist, wrote about his case.

Daichi Yoshida repeatedly tried to appeal the verdict. In February, the Supreme Court refused to review the case of Daichi Yoshida, calling the verdict fair.

After that, Yoshida’s family appealed to Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Recently, there was published a decision of the Supreme Court’s Judicial Collegium of May 4 to change the verdict for the Japanese citizen due to the “excessive severity of punishment”.

The term of his punishment was reduced to 1 year 9 months of imprisonment. Daichi Yoshida will be released on May 22.

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