Millennium Post

China sentences former Japanese politician to life

Beijing: A court in southern China on Friday sentenced an elderly former Japanese politician to life in prison in a 5-year-old drug trafficking case.

Another man from the African nation of Mali was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and a man from Guinea was also give a life sentence.

Takuma Sakuragi, 76, is a former city assemblyman from central Japan's Aichi.

He was detained in 2013 when found carrying about 3.3 kilograms (more than 6 pounds) of illegal stimulants in his luggage, according to the Guangzhou City First Intermediate Court.

Sakuragi pleaded not guilty.

He said a Nigerian acquaintance had asked him to carry the suitcase.

Chinese law exempts people over the age of 75 from the death penalty, which is often imposed for drug-related offences.

The other two sentenced were identified by their Chinese names as the Ali, a citizen of Mali, and Moxi from Guinea.

Death sentences with two-year reprieves are almost always commuted to life in prison.

Japanese media reported that the verdict in Sakuragi's case was delayed while authorities tracked down others involved in the case.

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