An arsonist who attacked the Kyoto Animation studio fatally is sentenced to death by a Japanese court

According to national broadcaster NHK, a Japanese court sentenced a 45-year-old man to death on Thursday for starting a fire at the well-known Kyoto Animation studio in 2019. The incident resulted in the greatest mass murder in the nation’s history, killing 36 people. Shinji Aoba, the defendant, told police that his work had been plagiarized and that he had set fire to the studio using gasoline, which is why he was charged with both murder and arson. The Kyoto District Court declared him guilty on Thursday.

 

According to authorities at the time, there were dozens of people inside the three-story building when the fire broke out and spread so quickly that many of them were unable to escape. At least thirty-two people were hurt, and all of the deceased were workers. The court’s chief judge, Keisuke Masuda, described Aoba’s offense as “truly atrocious and inhumane” in his decision. “Too serious and tragic,” Masuda declared, describing the way smoke and flames enveloped the studio and the deaths of the victims. The judge declared that words could not express the anguish and suffering experienced by the victims who perished in Studio 1, which instantly transformed into a hell, or who passed away later.

 

During the trial, which started in September of last year, he entered a not guilty plea, citing mental health issues as the reason he could not be prosecuted. Nonetheless, prosecutors demanded the death punishment, claiming Aoba was well capable. Only sections of the United States and Japan, among industrialized democracies, still use the death penalty. International law forbids the use of the death penalty against those who have mental disorders, according to rights organizations like Amnesty International. According to NHK, the judge decided on Thursday that Aoba was capable of judging what was right and wrong at the time of the occurrence. According to NHK, it was “determined that he was neither insane nor mentally incompetent at the time of the crime,” indicating that he was capable of taking responsibility.

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