Kyoto Animation Fire: A Japanese court sentences Shinji Aoba to death for a fatal attack on the studio


Firefighters battle a fire at Kyoto Animation Studio in Kyoto, Japan, on July 18, 2019.


A Japanese court on Thursday sentenced a 45-year-old man to death for setting fire to a famous Kyoto animation studio in 2019, killing 36 people in the country. The worst mass murder Nearly 20 years ago, according to NHK.

The accused, Shinji Aoba, was charged with murder and arson after he reported this to the police The work was stolen And he used gasoline to set fire to the studio. The Kyoto District Court found him guilty on Thursday.

Police said at the time that dozens of people were inside the three-story building at the time of the fire, which spread so quickly that many did not have time to escape. All of the dead were employees, while at least 32 others were injured.

In his ruling, Presiding Judge Keisuke Masuda described Aoba's crime as “truly terrible and inhuman.” Masuda said the victims' deaths were “very serious and tragic,” describing how flames and smoke engulfed the studio.

The judge said: “The horror and pain experienced by the victims who died in Studio 1, which turned into hell in an instant, or who died afterwards, is beyond description.”

At a 2019 press conference, police said Aoba suffered from unspecified mental health problems.

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A man prays after laying flowers near the Kyoto Animation Studio building after an arson attack on July 19, 2019 in Kyoto, Japan.

He pleaded not guilty during the trial that began last September, with his defense lawyers saying that he suffers from a mental disorder and cannot be held criminally responsible.

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But the prosecution demanded the death penalty, arguing that Oba was fully competent.

Among industrial democracies only Japan Parts of the United States retain the death penalty. Rights groups, including Amnesty International, say international law prohibits the use of the death penalty against people with mental disabilities.

On Thursday, the judge ruled that Aoba could determine what was right and wrong at the time of the accident, according to NHK. NHK reported that his capacity to bear responsibility “has been determined that he was neither insane nor mentally incompetent at the time of the crime.”

The fire represents the worst mass killing in Japan since an arson attack on a building in Tokyo's Kabukicho district in 2001, which killed 44 people. It also exceeded the notorious death toll Sarin gas attack in Tokyo In the subway in 1995, which killed 13 people.

The Kyoto attack left fans around the world mourning the loss of life and the studio that claimed to put its employees first and was a major force in the industry.

Founded in 1981, Kyoto Animation – known as KyoAni – made its name by producing high-quality anime based on both the mystical and the mundane.

Her popular works include the anime series “Free!”, the manga series “K-On!”, the TV series adaptation of the anime series “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” and “Violet Evergarden”, which was picked up by Netflix in 2018.

This story has been updated.

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